September 08, 2014

Annual ‘buffalo tro’ set for Touch of Nature

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center is again offering a unique opportunity to return to very early America with its annual “buffalo tro.” 

In its fourth year, the event will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Freeberg Hall

Oct. 10. The camp is located about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road. 

The festivities start with a reception featuring buffalo appetizers from Bison Bluff Farms and cheese from Marcoot Jersey Creamery, accompanied by local wines, beers and spirits. Alto Vineyards, Big Muddy Brewing, Grand River Spirits and Venegoni Distributing are providing the local wines, beer and refreshments. 

Dinner begins at 7:15 p.m. and features marinated beef steaks prepared much like the Plains tribes cooked buffalo, with steaks cooked within a bed of burning hardwood chips for hours to seal the juices inside.  The steaks are then “klinked” to remove the coals 

Diners may also enjoy a vegetarian lasagna as an entrée option.  The dinner also includes a dinner salad, baked potato, hot bread and dessert. 

Lloyd B. Sharpe introduced the tro to SIU with the support of then-President Delyte Morris, and William Freeberg, a recreation visionary; the three men were also instrumental in the development of Touch of Nature. 

The evening will also feature silent and live auctions with an assortment of donated items.  A complete list of the auction items, event sponsors and the history of the buffalo tro is available at

Tickets are $65 apiece or $480 for a table of eight.  Seating is limited and it is not uncommon for the event to sell out. Reservations are available on a first-come, first served basis and the ticket purchase deadline is Oct. 3. 

Reservations are available at or by contacting Paula Feigenbaum at or by calling 618/453-1121. 

Attire for the evening is casual. 

Proceeds will go toward enhancing the facilities and services at Touch of Nature Environmental Center.  Profits from previous events have funded the purchase of kayaks and other outdoor recreational equipment as well as air conditioners for cabins and new outdoor challenge elements including a zip line, pamper pole and elevator.  

Donations are also welcome for the support of Touch of Nature.