McHenry County Schools Environmental Education Program

What does MCSEEP teach in my classroom?

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The goal of our Kindergarten through Eighth Grade curriculum is to gradually build an educated and caring awareness of the importance and wonder of our Earth. MCSEEP seeks to engage students in local environmental conversations with the hope that these learning opportunities will inspire life long global environmental action.

We use a wide variety of entertaining, informative, and interactive educational methods; building on what was taught the previous year while laying the groundwork for the following year. Accordingly, when our Kindergarten students graduate from grade school, they have a good understanding of environmental issues as varied as solid waste management, conservation of natural resources, biodiversity, groundwater and watershed preservation, global climate change and the impact of consumerism on the natural world.

Our carefully crafted lessons are both enjoyable and educational, offering practical solutions to current environmental problems. In addition, the MCSEEP curriculum meets Next Generation Science Standards, thereby satisfying the environmental education requirements.

The schools we teach in are highly supportive and enthusiastic about our program. If you are not the assigned coordinator for your school  please contact your school coordinator to inquire about lessons or contact Bill Donato at MCSEEP:

wcdonato@co.mchenry.il.us   List of Environmental Coordinators by School

Please click on your grade to access description, objectives, standards, frontloading material and follow up activities

Kindergarten - What I DO makes a difference!(40 minutes) 

1st Grade - Our Good Friends, the Trees (40 minutes) 

2nd  Grade - Dirt Made My Lunch (40 minutes) 


3rd Grade - Water - Making Every Drop Count (50 minutes) 

4th Grade - Power Up 2050 (50 minutes)

5th Grade - Importance of Biodiversity(50 minutes) 

6th Grade - Water – Who protects our watersheds (50 minutes)  *

7th Grade - Can we mitigate climate disruption? (50 minutes) 

8th Grade - Making a Sustainable Living (50 minutes) *


HIGH SCHOOL - Green Careers (50 minutes – 1 hour) * Phenology (50 minutes to entire day) Local Pollinators and Climate Change

Picking up where our 8th grade lesson left off, we continue to explore how to balance economic growth with improved care for the environment. Our general career focus shifts to the topic of energy. As the U.S. population grows and when the economy rebounds, electricity demand is expected to increase by approximately one-third in the next 12 years. Worldwide, the demand for energy is expected to double by 2030. How can we power the world without overpowering the environment? This lesson will address that question by looking at the new career fields in renewable energy. We also discuss internship opportunities and how to best prepare students to fill these important roles. Ever optimistic about the future of our children and planet, this workshop takes the first step in identifying the solutions and opportunities that will allow us to emerge stronger and more sustainable. 

Phenology: Monitoring Seasonal events assists scientists in determining major changes to the climate.  Phenology does just that.  Your class will learn about what phenology is, how it can be applied at your school and ways to get involved in citizen science investigations.

Local Pollinators:  A presentation by a local beekeeper will investigate the art of bee-keeping and the role that bees have on the stability of our ecosystem and food supply.  Colony collapse will be discussed as well as possible reasons and methods that the school can do to increase population of pollinators.   


High schools can call our office to schedule a lesson. (815) 334-4054 or contacting Bill Donato: wcdonato@co.mchenry.il.us


*These lessons are sponsored by the McHenry County Cooperative for Employment Education (MCCEE). Funding is provided through the State of Illinois, CTEI grant.