Defenders of McHenry County is a citizen organization dedicated
to the preservation and improvement of the environment. We are
committed to building sound ecological relationships between
people and the natural world that supports all life.
achieve the aim of environmental preservation and improvement,
we provide the community with educational programs and volunteer
action on pollution prevention, sustainable land use and energy
and natural resource conservation.
advocate policies which protect drinking water supplies and
conserve land for open space and agriculture. We demonstrate
waste reduction through recycling drives and reuse centers. We
encourage natural resource protection through native landscaping
and stream protection programs.
The BYOBag McHenry
County committee is an advocacy group of the Environmental Defenders of
McHenry County and currently has ten Defenders members.
BYOBag Committee was organized in the fall of 2013 with the purpose of
reducing the number of single use plastic bags in our county and asking
McHenry County residents to bring their own, reusable bags when shopping
committee represents the whole of beautiful McHenry County, IL, home to
the newly established Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge; acres of open
space; old growth oak forests; farmland and prairies; rivers and
wetlands. We understand environmental issues know no borders and
encourage neighboring counties to mirror our efforts as we join the many
cities and counties across the United States that have already done
their part to reduce the use of plastic bags.
are working right now, reaching out to businesses, schools and towns to
bring about change. This is a team effort that can have lasting,
positive effects for our communities in many ways.
There are certain things we need in life and there are certain things
that we can simply live without. When the latter (i.e. plastic bags)
have also proven to cause long-lasting degradation to our environment,
polluting waterways, overflowing landfills, and harming wildlife, it is
time to make a culture shift from our “convenience” lifestyle toward a
more responsible, sustainable and globally minded one. Reflecting on
the THREE Rs, it is “REDUCE” that comes first. REDUCE, REUSE & then
RECYCLE. If one person can shop without using plastic (or paper!) bags,
we all can.
committee strongly supports a teamwork approach to helping shape the
future of a plastic bag-free McHenry County, working with local
governing bodies, businesses, and schools. Our goal is to encourage a
dialogue in all towns in McHenry County. Common language and logo
representing our efforts will unite the movement toward reducing our use
of plastic bag, as well as paper bags.
Towns in our county may consider new regulations, rules or ordinances
for deeper change leading to the sustainability of this program into
our future and for future generations. Such change could reflect the
complete absence of plastic bags at checkout and a charge for paper
bags. Other options might be a charge for both plastic and paper, a
practice already incorporated into Aldi stores today, for example. There
are many examples and lessons from which to draw from around the
country, including from our neighbor to the east, Chicago.
Near-term plans for continued committee work include finalizing language
for a consistent educational outreach message that can be adopted
by all towns in McHenry County and communicated to residents through
village/city Web sites and newsletters; addressing the McHenry County
Council of Governors; launching a school-based reusable bag poster
contest; continued outreach to area businesses; and, very importantly,
helping towns move toward legislation in the not too distant future that
will help bring about lasting change.
“Bring Your Own Bag” McHenry County!
Join our committee and
work to help your town become plastic bag free.
Cynthia W. Kanner
Chair, BYOBag McHenry
of McHenry County
have we been up to lately?
Proposed Oakwood Hills
power plant: The Water Resources committee met to formulate
questions and concerns about this proposal, and presented them
to the Oakwood Hills zoning board on Thursday, July 24. We continue to
monitor this development due to our concerns about the water usage. You
can read the Defenders' comments
HERE, and the Silver Sleepy Hollow Creeks Watershed Coalition
National Wildlife Refuge – served as fiscal agent for friends’
Preservation – served on Local Foods Taskforce to increase
viability of small farms and promote local foods; advocated
successfully for increased agritourism opportunities for small
farmers in the County’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO)
Resources Preservation - Created Silver and Sleepy Hollow Creeks
Watershed Plan; formed and facilitate SSHCW Coalition; facilitate
the McHenry County Watershed Roundtable; member of FREP, KREP, Fox
River Study Group; advocated successfully for watershed protection
in County’s UDO
Infrastructure – helped with effort to create Green
Infrastructure Plan for McHenry County; advocated successfully for
inclusion of green infrastructure protection in County’s UDO
clean-ups – collaborate with Sierra Club and SSHCW Coalition to
conduct two or three river clean-ups each year around the county;
conduct It’s Our River Day annually in Algonquin in collaboration
with the village
- hold monthly recycling drives to collect items that are not
collected curbside; annual Earth Day Recycling Drive; collaborate
with County Health Department for annual Spring recycling drive;
recycle at special events – Mozart Festival, Nippersink Music
Festival, Wasted Plains Festival, Pickle Palooza, etc.;
collaborating with County Fair Board and Ecossential Solutions, Inc.
to begin recycling program at County Fair; small-business cardboard
recycling project; electronics restoration project; serve on Lou
Marchi Total Recycling Institute planning group
Habitat Protection – collaborate with MCCD, CL Park District,
and SSHCW Coalition for multiple habitat restoration workdays each
year in Silver & Sleepy Hollow Creeks Watersheds; reestablishing
habitat restoration work on two roadside prairies – Triangle Prairie
in Woodstock and O’Brian Prairie north of Greenwood; conduct annual
workdays on Defenders’ and Soil and Water Conservation District’s
properties in Woodstock
Planning – advocated for “complete streets” planning in County’s
2040 Transportation Plan; collaborated with McHenry County Bicycle
Advocates to collect hundreds of signatures for bicycle lanes/paths
in the Plan; met with IDOT representatives to preserve oaks and
Sleepy Hollow Creek in Hwy. 31 widening project
– served on taskforces to create McHenry County’s Wind Energy
Ordinance, Solid Waste Reduction Plan, Water Resources Action Plan
Day Celebration – annual event at Prairieview Education Center
in collaboration with MCCD – multiple committees’ activities
Our River Day – annual event on Fox River in collaboration with
Village of Algonquin – presentations and educational materials
at events – environmental information provided at Algonquin
Conservation Day, Natural Landscaping Seminar, Garden Fest, Green
Living Expo, McHenry County Fair, music festivals, and at our
Documentaries – show several documentaries annually at MCC in
collaboration with Lou Marchi Total Recycling Institute and the MCC
Sustainability Center – examples: Gasland, Bag It!, Sun Come
Up, Queen of the Sun, Chasing Ice, The Price of Sand, etc.
Bag McHenry County – beginning educational campaign to reduce
plastic bag use in County
Drinks – in 5th year of serving on planning group and
facilitating monthly Green Drinks events at Dukes
& Regional Environmental Issues – collaborate with Illinois
Environmental Council and Environmental Law and Policy Center to
educate and advocate about broader issues that affect our county
Fundraising Efforts, including our Green Spot Used Book Store,
used books sales, Eco-friendly Food and Beer Fest at
Duke's, Pioneer Tree Farm Christmas tree sales, County Fair ticket
sales, Use-It-Again Garage Sales
Upcoming Events and
(also see Calendar link
Office Hours: Monday
through Thursday, 10 am - 4:30 pm
Book Store Hours:
Tuesday through Friday, 11 am - 4 pm. Saturday 11am - 3pm
Defenders' McHenry & Woodstock Recycling Drives
We hold a monthly recycling drive on the
second Saturday of each month, alternating between McHenry & Woodstock,
McHenry in odd-numbered months and Woodstock in even-numbered months.
WOODSTOCK recycling drives have moved! At the old
location, we had a problem with incoming cars being backed up onto
the street - not a safe situation!
The new location has a circular drive which will allow folks bringing
materials to line up off the road.
Click HERE for more info.***
Our next collection of fluorescent tubes,
batteries (household, rechargeable, car, and button), and clean
polystyrene foam (AKA Styrofoam) will be in
McHenry on Saturday, September 13th, from 9 am until noon. Click
the link below for the address and more information. A donation will be
requested for fluorescent bulbs, batteries, monitors and televisions
We also collect packing peanuts,
re-useable bubble wrap, and electronics such as computers, phones,
printers, electronic toys, etc. A donation is requested to recycle TVs
and computer monitors (suggested donation is $10 - $35 depending on
size) We can also take VHS tapes, CDs, DVDs, etc.
Now you can donate
aluminum cans at both the McHenry and Woodstock drives, but we will no
longer be paying for them. The donation will help fund our educational
and advocacy programs.
USAgain Clothes Collection System will be providing a truck at each
drive to accept any kind of cloth items—clothing, linens, or just plain
rags, clean and preferably put into a bag. They will also accept
shoes, tied together by their laces and placed in the bag.
Become a new member of the Defenders at the recycling drive,
at the $50 level
or higher, and get two coupons to recycle a television or monitor for
Home Depot & Ace Hardware will take your compact
fluorescent bulbs for recycling at no charge.
read more here...
The Green Spot Used Books Store
110 S Johnson Street, Suite 104
Woodstock IL 60098
Visit the Defenders' Green Spot
used book store, across the hall from the office. We have a continually
rotating supply of good used books and gift items, all at incredible
prices, and all proceeds help the Defenders.
Book donations are welcome.
You can drop them off anytime we're open, or you can use our book bin,
located on Johnson Street just to the left of the building, day or
Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11am - 4pm and Saturday 11am - 3pm.
Phone person wanted. Anytime we
need volunteers for an event, we do a lot of calling, and can
use help. You can do this from your home or at the Defenders'
office - we'll provide a script with all the information you'll
need. Let us know if this is something you'd like to help us
Help at our monthly
recycling drives is always appreciated.
Big Fall Book Sale help -
September 14 through October 5. We are going to be VERY
ambitious this year, and run two sales at once - one at
Algonquin Township in Crystal Lake, and one at the Soil & Water
District in Woodstock, so we'll need LOTS of help! You can see
when we need help and sign up by clicking
Green Spot Resale
– We can always use volunteers to
help sort and price book donations, Mondays - Saturdays, anytime
Speakers Bureau - we often get calls
from groups looking for someone to do a presentation for them. If
you enjoy public speaking, let us know the topics you can cover, and
we'll add you to our list.
Volunteers needs for specific events, such
as book sales, are often listed here:
Contact the office at email@example.com
or call 815-338-0393. Thanks!
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