Educational Loan Materials

We offer a variety of materials you can borrow for use offsite or while you visit. Materials are appropriate for teachers, families, and youth group leaders seeking curriculum supplements, family activities, or assistance with badge requirements. All materials are free to use however a $2.00 per day late fee is assessed on materials returned after the due date. Browse materials below.

McHenry County Conservation District Educational Materials
The “Naturalist in a Box” and “Backyard Buddy” Kits are checked out and returned to the Prairieview Education Center in Crystal Lake. The links below provide a content list for each kit. Materials are available for a two-week loan period and reservations are recommended. For questions please contact our Education staff at (815) 479-5779  or 

Naturalist in a Box Kits | Grades 1-8 | Available Topics:

Astronomy BatsButterflies | Creepy Crawlies | Geology | Hawks and Owls | Mammals | Native Americans Wetlands

Backyard Buddy Kits | Grades PreK-2 | Available Topics: 

Chipmunk | Ladybug | Otter | Cottontail Rabbit | Raccoon | Squirrel | Groundhog

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Educational Materials 
We are a lending site for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The following materials are checked out and returned to the Prairieview Education Center in Crystal Lake. The links below provide additional information on each item. Materials are available for a two-week loan period and reservations are recommended. For questions please contact our Education staff at (815) 479-5779  or 

Illinois Birds Trunk | Grades 3-8
Illinois Fossils Trunk | Grades 3-8
Illinois Trees Trunk | Grades Prek-10
Aquatic Illinois Trunk | Grades 3-12
Illinois Wild Mammals Trunk | Grades K-8
Illinois Prairies Trunk | Grades K-8
Illinois Insects and Spiders Trunk | Grades PreK-8
Illinois State Symbols Trunk | Grades K-8
People and Animals from Illinois’ Past | Grades K-6
Field Trip Pack for Early Educators | Grades PreK-3

Water Quality Monitoring Kits 
We provide water quality monitoring materials for multiple age groups. They contain reference materials, curriculum guides, water quality monitoring manuals, test kits, and the necessary equipment for biological monitoring. The materials in the kits are tailored to meet the needs of your group. To reserve a kit or schedule assistance with biological or chemical monitoring, contact the Outreach Program Coordinator at (815) 678-4532, ext. 8117. Please schedule your pick up date at least two weeks in advance.

Hiker Trail Packs 
Families, youth groups, and adults are welcome to borrow these Hiker Trail Packs when they visit the Prairieview Education Center or the Lost Valley Visitor Center. The packs are for on site use only. A driver’s license must be left at the center during use and materials returned one half hour prior to closing. Adult supervision is required.

Hiker Trail Packs are available first come, first served during center business hours.
Lost Valley Visitor Center: November-March 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily | April -October 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily
Prairieview Education Center: Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. | Saturday 12:30-4:30 p.m.

Family Exploration Packs 
These packs are available at both the Prairieview Education Center and the Lost Valley Visitor Center. They contain seasonal activities you can do out on the trails with your family.

Map and Compass Packs
These packs are designed to be used on the map and compass course at Prairieview Education Center. The pack contains maps, compasses, and instructions for map reading activities and compass use. Each pack has supplies for up to 24 participants. We recommend one adult for every four children. 

Prairieview Field Pack
This pack is for adult use only, ages 18 and up. Choose from a list of items to include in your pack that will enhance your hike out on the trails. Available only at the Prairieview Education Center. 

Geocaching Pack
This pack is designed for use on the geocache course at Prairieview Education Center. The pack contains two GPS units with instructions for use and scavenger hunt worksheets. A group of two or three people per GPS unit is recommended.  We recommend one adult for every four children.