Local Environmental Groups

Find organizations protecting and restoring the natural beauty of our northern Illinois community


Environmental Organizations in Illinois

There are some great not-for-profit organizations and councils — at the state, regional, and local levels — that exist to protect and restore the natural beauty and ecology of Illinois. At Turf Care Enterprises, we applaud the fine work these groups are doing, and encourage everyone to find a local group and get involved. You can support these groups by volunteering your time, through monetary and material donations, or by spreading the word about these groups.

Statewide Organizations


  • Environment Illinois

    A citizen-based environmental advocacy project of Environment America, Environment Illinois is dedicated to advocating for clean air, clean water, and open spaces in Illinois.

  • Environmental Law & Policy Center

    The Environmental Law & Policy Center is the Midwest’s leading public interest environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization. They develop and lead advocacy campaigns to improve environmental quality and protect natural resources in Illinois.

  • Illinois Association of Park Districts

    Since 1928, the IAPD has been a grassroots organization serving park districts, forest preserves, conservation and recreation agencies throughout the state.

  • Illinois Audubon Society

    Founded in 1897, the Illinois Audubon Society’s mission is to promote the perpetuation and appreciation of native flora and fauna of Illinois and the habitats that support them.

  • Illinois Conservation Foundation

    The Illinois Conservation Foundation inspires today’s youth – tomorrow’s leaders – by providing quality outdoor education and programs that instill interest in conservation, ecology and sustainability.

  • Illinois Environmental Council (IEC)

    IEC promotes sound environmental laws and policies. We encourage decision makers in the private sector to go beyond minimum standards to establish new environmental best practices. We credit those who lead, innovate, and inspire others to follow their example. Check out their Environmental Scorecard »

  • Illinois Student Environmental Coalition (ISEC)

    As a part of the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC), the Illinois Student Environmental Coalition (ISEC) gathers student-run organizations from across Illinois under a single goal: promote environmental sustainability. Learn more about this organization and find opportunities to serve.

  • Midwest Pesticide Action Center

    Midwest Pesticide Action Center is dedicated to reducing the health risks and environmental impacts of pesticides by promoting safer alternatives. Learn more about their Midwest Grows Green program »

  • Trails for Illinois

    Trails for Illinois works to enhance the quality of life in Illinois by connecting the state’s communities and countryside with an interconnected, multi-use public trail network, and by promoting the use of trails for recreation and transportation. They want every Illinois community and resident to benefit from access to safe, active, and enjoyable outdoor trail experiences. They want to make your home your trailhead!


Educational Groups

  • Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods

    Located among pristine woodlands in the Ryerson historic home in Riverwoods, Il., Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods promotes the importance of nature for nurturing personal and community wellbeing, cultivating creativity, and inspiring learning.

  • Douglas-Hart Nature Center

    Through responsible stewardship of Helen Douglas Hart’s gifts, the Douglas-Hart Foundation will be a leader in promoting the appreciation, enjoyment, and conservation of our natural resources by providing quality programs for all ages.

  • Environmental Education Association of Illinois

    The Environmental Education Association of Illinois (EEAI) is a partnership between conservationists and teachers who are passionate about environmental education in Illinois. They are the Illinois affiliate of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE).

  • Hickory Knolls Discovery Center

    The Hickory Knolls Discovery Center offers nature programs at their 130 acres of oak woodlands, wetlands, and prairies.

  • Lorado Taft Field Campus of Northern Illinois University

    Taft’s Outdoor Education Program teaches an appreciation, understanding, and awareness of the natural community by studying and interacting with the natural world.

  • School & Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education (SCARCE)

    The mission of SCARCE is to inspire people, through education, to preserve & care for our Earth’s natural resources, while working to build sustainable communities. They offer educational programs for kids through adults, environmental certifications for organizations, and consulting on starting up green initiatives for organizations and municipalities.

  • Severson Dells Nature Center

    An education and nature center in Rockford, IL, the mission of Severson Dells is to link people to nature through education and research, in the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin area. They promote awareness of the natural world, fostering respect, enjoyment, and preservation now and in the future.

  • Stillman Nature Center

    The Stillman Nature Center is a private, non-profit center for environmental education located on 80 acres of woods, lake and prairie in South Barrington, Illinois.


Protecting the Great Lakes and Waterways

  • Alliance for the Great Lakes

    The Alliance for the Great Lakes works to protect the Great Lakes for today and tomorrow. They involve tens of thousands of people each year in advocacy, volunteering, education, and research to ensure the lakes are healthy and safe for all.

  • Delta Institute

    Delta works in partnership with business, government and communities in the Great Lakes region to create and implement innovative, market-driven solutions that build environmental resilience, economic vitality, and healthy communities. Check out their 2016 Annual Report »

  • DuPage River Salt Creek Workgroup

    This is a partnership between communities, POTWs, and environmental organizations committed to improve the water quality of the DuPage River and Salt Creek in northeastern Illinois.

  • Friends of the Fox River

    The mission of the Friends of the Fox River is to preserve, restore and protect the Fox River Watershed’s resources by connecting people with nature through education, research, restoration and advocacy.

  • Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

    The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) brings together scientists, educators, policy makers, community decision makers, outreach specialists, business leaders, and the general public to work towards a healthy environment and economy along the shore of Lake Michigan. The IISG is a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), University of Illinois, and Purdue University, along with key organizations and institutions.

  • National Great Rivers Research and Education Center

    The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC) is dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them. The NGRREC is a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Illinois Natural History Survey, and Lewis and Clark Community College.

  • Prairie Rivers Network

    Prairie Rivers Network champions clean, healthy rivers and lakes, and safe drinking water to benefit the people and wildlife of Illinois. Drawing upon sound science and working cooperatively with others, they advocate public policies and cultural values that sustain the ecological health and biological diversity of water resources and aquatic ecosystems. Learn more about their work protecting pollinators »

  • Salt Creek Watershed Network

    Salt Creek Watershed Network (SCWN) seeks to foster public awareness of the recreational benefits of Salt Creek and its many varied assets. And, by public education throughout the watershed, it promotes the improvement of water quality, the use of best management practices, and sound ecosystem enhancements.


Restoring the Prairies

  • Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund

    The Chiwaukee Prairie is in the southeast corner of Pleasant Prairie in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, and just north of Lake County, Illinois. The Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund exists to acquire, restore, preserve and manage prairie lands which include rare, endangered and threatened species, lands with natural diversity, and viable self-sustaining ecological communities as well as to promote the conservation education of its members and the general public.

  • Illinois Native Plant Society

    The Illinois Native Plant Society focuses on promoting the study and appreciation of Illinois’ natural vegetation and providing educational resources for all those that wish to learn or share in our enthusiasm.

  • Liberty Prairie Foundation

    Since 1993, the Liberty Prairie Foundation is a nationally-recognized foundation strengthening local food systems while enhancing the natural landscape.

  • Natural Land Institute

    One of the oldest private conservation groups in the Midwest, the Natural Land Institute has helped residents of northern Illinois conserve the land they cherish for over 59 years.

  • Openlands

    Since 1963, Openlands has helpe protect more than 55,000 acres for public parks and forest preserves in the greater Chicago region.

  • Save the Prairie Society

    For over 40 years, the Save the Prairie Society (STPS) has been the steward of the 80-acre Wolf Road Prairie in Cook County,

  • West Chicago Prairie Stewardship Group

    The West Chicago Prairie Stewardship Group is a volunteer organization formed in 1982. Our main purpose is to aid in the management and preservation of the West Chicago Prairie Preserve.


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Regional Organizations and Associations


  • Barrington Area Conservation Trust (BacTrust)

    The mission of Barrington Area Conservation Trust is to preserve our community’s rare and exceptional open spaces for current and future generations. We are able to achieve our mission through the generous support of individual members, family foundations, and business organizations.

  • Boone County Conservation District

    The Boone County Conservation District, established in November 1964, was the first conservation district in the State of Illinois. Their mission is to preserve and manage natural areas and open spaces for ecological and recreational benefits of present and future generations.The BCCD has 25 conservation areas in Boone County, providing recreation, educational programs, special events, and volunteer opportunities.

  • Brookfield Zoo

    The world-renowned Brookfield Zoo is a 216-acre nature park that has captivated and educated visitors since 1934. It is home to 2,000+ animal residents and is also an accredited arboretum. It is managed by the Chicago Zoological Society and sits on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

  • Chicago Audubon Society

    Founded in 1971, the Chicago Audubon Society’s mission is to promote the understanding and appreciation of nature, and to aid in the conservation and restoration of our natural ecosystems for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biodiversity.

  • Chicago Botanic Garden

    Featuring 27 gardens and four natural areas, the Chicago Botanic Garden is a public garden on 385 acres.

  • Chicago Wilderness Alliance

    Chicago Wilderness is a regional alliance or organizations committed to preserving, improving, and expanding nature and quality of life in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

  • Chicagoland Environmental Network (CEN)

    CEN is a database connecting Chicagoland residents with jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities at over 200 local environmental and natural resource organizations.

  • The Conservation Foundation

    Founded in 1972, The Conservation Foundation is non-profit land and river protection organization that works in DuPage, Kane, Kendall, and Will Counties in Illinois.

  • Evanston Environmental Association

    The Evanston Environmental Association (EEA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the programs of the Evanston Ecology Center and promoting environmental awareness to the surrounding community.

  • Friends of the Fox River

    The mission of the Friends of the Fox River is to preserve, restore and protect the Fox River Watershed’s resources by connecting people with nature through education, research, restoration and advocacy.

  • Southeast Environmental Task Force

    SETF is an environmental nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the southeast side and south suburbs of Chicago by promoting environmental education, pollution prevention, and sustainable development.



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County and Municipal Organizations


Cook County, IL


DuPage County, IL

  • The Conservation Foundation – DuPage County

    The Conservation Foundation works with organizations, governments, and landowners in DuPage County to promote the use of native plant species and best practices for storm water management.

  • Kane DuPage Soil & Water Conservation District

    The Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) in Kane & DuPage Counties exists to provide educational opportunities and resources for individuals and groups on how to best manage our natural resources.


Kane County, IL

  • The Conservation Foundation – Kane County

    Since 1997, The Conservation Foundation has been educating Kane County children and adults on how to care for our natural resources, especially when it comes to the Fox River.

  • Forest Preserve District of Kane County

    The mission of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County is to acquire, hold, and maintain lands within Kane County that contribute to the preservation of natural and historic resources, habitats, flora, and fauna; and to restore, restock, protect,
    and preserve such lands for the education, recreation, and pleasure of all its citizens.

  • Kane DuPage Soil & Water Conservation District

    The Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) in Kane & DuPage Counties exists to provide educational opportunities and resources for individuals and groups on how to best manage our natural resources.


Lake County, IL

  • Conserve Lake County

    This organization preserves thousands of acres across Lake County, including Liberty Prairie Reserve,
    which consists of approximately 5,000 acres in the heart of Lake County between Libertyville, Grayslake, Gurnee, and Waukegan.

  • Edward L. Ryerson Conservation Area

    Ryerson Woods supports some of Illinois’ most pristine woodlands and several state threatened and endangered species. One of the best examples of a northern flatwoods forest, a rare northern Illinois landscape, and most of the floodplain forest left in northeastern Illinois can be found here.

  • Lake Bluff Open Lands Association

    For over 35 years, the Lake Bluff Open Lands Association has been protecting and preserving over 200 acres of wetlands and natural open spaces in Lake Bluff, IL.

  • Land Conservancy of Lake County

    Founded in 1989, the Land Conservancy protects natural and open lands in Lake County, IL.

  • Lake County Audubon Society

    The Lake County Audubon Society is passionate about the education, conservation, and restoration of natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife and their habitats, for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.

  • Lake County Forest Preserves

    As principal guardian of Lake County’s open space and natural areas since 1958, this agency remains focused on preservation, restoration, education, and recreation. Acknowledged as a regional and national leader, this agency protects nearly 31,000 acres of natural land and is the second largest Forest Preserve District in Illinois.

  • Lake Forest Open Lands Association

    Lake Forest Open Lands, founded in 1967, maintains over 800 acres across 6 nature preserves, with two more preserves to open in 2017.

  • Liberty Prairie Foundation

    Founded in 1993, this foundation seeks to support local food suppliers and the natural landscape. The are based in the Prairie Crossing Farm, an organic farm in Grayslake, IL.


McHenry County, IL

  • Environmental Defenders of McHenry County

    The Environmental Defenders is dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the natural environment in McHenry County.

  • The Land Conservancy of McHenry County

    The Land Conservancy of McHenry County is a non-profit land preservation organization whose mission is to preserve natural, agricultural and scenic land forever, in and around McHenry County, by working with private landowners, communities and other like-minded partners.


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