- Published on Monday, 06 July 2015 11:30
- Written by Breanna Bright
Summer is an opportunity to have adventures, get away from everyday life, and discover something new. Touch of Nature Environmental Center offers the chance for anyone of any age to have that ideal summer experience with camps, education, adventure trips, and more.
Part of an outdoor laboratory for SIU, Touch of Nature is open to everyone, providing education and adventure for both young and old. Director Joseph “JD” Tanner says community outreach is very important, “We service the community in a number of ways, we connect people to the university, provide programs for everyone, and connect kids to the outdoors.”
Touch of Nature certainly provides plenty of things to do, patrons can learn survival skills like building a shelter, first aid, and weapon making. For recreation Tanner’s favorite activity is a boat ride, canoeing, kayaking, or going out on the pontoon, “we’ll take people out on Little Grassy Lake and give a sort of tour of the area. It’s a way to connect people to the environment and remind them how important it is to take care of it.” You can also learn to rock climb, or go down the zipline course. Kids can attend day or overnight camps.
Touch of Nature even provides guided adventure trips all over the U.S. In October you can join them in a trip to Kentucky for a mountain climbing and cave exhibition.
One of the center’s most generous aspects is their Therapeutic Recreation program. This is ideal for those with physical, cognitive, or developmental disabilities, and Camp Little Giant was made especially for that purpose, and is open to those of any age. The T.R. program provides paddling, fishing, swimming, arts and crafts and many other activities catered to the camper’s needs.
Summer activities are still going strong, and there are several programs for the fall season including a community paddling event called Breaking the Surface where everyone is invited to try out the boats on Little Grassy Lake. There’s also the Buffalo Tro Fundraiser, and for Halloween the haunted Hollow - a fun autumn festival.