The Margaret Marchi Environmental Library

What, exactly, is conservation design? What is in those sprays for mosquitoes? Which native plants would work in my yard? What are some realistic energy alternatives? What can I do to protect water quality? What are the county’s policies on environmental issues? What is the State of the World?

These types of questions can be answered by using the Defenders’ library, created by founding member, Margaret Marchi, and maintained by our dedicated volunteers. Our library is a great resource, and the best environmental library in Northern Illinois. The library is open to our members as well as the public during normal office hours. This service encourages research and greater understanding of environmental issues.

Copies of EDMC’s newsletters, dating back to 1969, are available in the library.


A sampling of the films available:

Bag It follows “everyman” Jeb Berrier as he tries to make sense of our dependence on plastic bags. Although his quest starts out small, Jeb soon learns that the problem extends past landfills to oceans, rivers and ultimately human health.

The average American uses about 500 plastic bags each year, for about twelve minutes each. This single-use mentality has led to the formation of a floating island of plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean more than twice the size of Texas.

The film explores these issues and identifies how our daily reliance on plastic threatens not only waterways and marine life, but human health, too. Two of the most common plastic additives are endocrine disruptors, which have been shown to link to cancer, diabetes, autism, attention deficit disorder, obesity and infertility.

Watch the trailer:

Suzan Beraza

A few of the books we have:

Green Living: The E Magazine Handbook for Living Lightly on the Earth
Nearly half of American homes buy organic, yet a large majority have only a limited knowledge of how to actually make informed, green choices. Green Living, from the editors of E/The Environmental Magazine, offers a step-by-step plan for every aspect of your life, from the laundry room to the kitchen. With advice on everything from planet-friendly cosmetics to home-based renewable energy, and straight talk on hemp, hybrids and hair coloring, Green Living is an ideal reference. You can find it at 570 EEM on the shelves.

Eastern Wildflowers: A Photographic Celebration from New England to the Heartland
The beauty of wildflowers, their colors, fragrances, and shapes, the surprises they offer, invite us to slow down and appreciate nature. Each two-page spread in this hardcover book offers a stunning photograph and well-written general description. More a browse-at-home volume than a field guide, this book is labeled 582.13 HOU.

Blue Planet Run: The Race to Provide Safe Drinking Water to the World
Not only do you learn about water, its characteristics and challenges to people all over the world, including one billion having little access to clean water, but the photography is magnificent. The images portray real life, yet with a sense of compassion. You’ll read insightful original essays from noted writers, as well. This table-top book offers reachable solutions to the world’s fresh water crisis. Find it on display in Defenders’ library at 628.1 SMO.

The World Without Us
In this book read aloud on 10 CDs, Alan Weisman shows how our massive infrastructure would collapse and vanish without human presence. Which everyday items would become fossils? How could plastic, bronze sculpture, and manmade molecules be our most lasting gifts to the universe? Weisman draws on the expertise of engineers, atmospheric scientists, art conservators, zoologists, religious leaders, and others to show what the planet might be like without us. Weisman’s enthralling tour of the world of tomorrow explores what little will remain of ancient times while anticipating, often poetically, what a planet without us would be like. Check it out in the media section of the library at 304.2 WEI.

Green Infrastructure: Linking Landscapes and Communities by Mark Benedict.
Product Description from
“With illustrative and detailed examples drawn from throughout the country, Green Infrastructure advances smart land conservation: large scale thinking and integrated action to plan, protect and manage our natural and restored lands. From the individual parcel to the multistate region, Green Infrastructure helps each of us look at the landscape in relation to the many uses it could serve, for nature and people, and determine which use makes the most sense. In this wide-ranging primer, leading experts in the field provide a detailed how-to for planners, designers, landscape architects, and citizen activists.”

The Oaks of McHenry County reviews the changes in the stands of oak trees since the county was settled, and details the mapping project taken on by McHenry County Conservation District.

More Fun, Less Stuff: The Challenges and Rewards of a New American Dream (2002 video) “is an entertaining, informative look at the hidden costs of the “more is better” definition of the American dream. Hosted by actor Danny Glover, this thirty-minute film features inspiring profiles of individuals, companies and organizations that are changing the way they consume to improve quality of life, protect the environment and promote social justice. More Fun, Less Stuff is a terrific tool for schools, faith-based groups, community organizations and the general public to learn more about how to make a difference!” (product description from

The Tree by Dana Lyons would be perfect to share with a child in your life before Earth Day or Arbor Day. The beautiful illustrations by David Lane Danioth show 800 years of a Douglas Fir’s life and complement the powerful message of caring for nature.

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Preserve. Protect. Educate.