March 07, 2006

Media Advisory – Touch of Nature Project

Student volunteers from across the country will spend their spring break helping to improve facilities at a Carbondale-area camp that serves children and adults with disabilities.

From Saturday, March 11, through Thursday, March 16, 33 undergraduate students from universities across the country will put new roofs on cabins used by Camp Little Giant at Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover the philanthropic undertaking. Touch of Nature is seven miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road. To arrange a visit, call Touch of Nature and ask for either Bruce Francis, superintendent of facilities and grounds, at 618/453-1121, ext. 246, or David Gename, director of the facility, whose extension is 240. The contact for Push America is Chad Coltrane, chief executive officer, at 704/504-2400.

The volunteers are participating in one of many "Push Camps," five-day programs run by Push America, a Pi Kappa Phi initiative, to benefit facilities across the country for people with disabilities. The 33 volunteers coming to Touch of Nature – making it the most popular Push Camp site – are from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio (13), Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo. (12), State University of New York-Brockport (two), Iowa State University (two), University of North Dakota (three) and North Georgia College & University (one).

This is the second consecutive year Touch of Nature will benefit from the fraternity's commitment to community service. The Push America grant includes a $5,000 cash award to help fund the cost of construction materials. Wright Do-It Center in Murphysboro and Associated Lumber companies are providing supplemental funding through substantial materials discounts. SIUC's Plant and Service Operations will provide professional craft support, project supervision and by underwriting the remaining materials cost.

To learn more about Push America, go to