January 26, 2009

Ceremony will recognize Laborers’ apprentices

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Visitors to Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center can’t help but notice a facelift of sorts. A special ceremony at the facility at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, will honor those who are making it happen.

Under an agreement signed by the University and the Illinois Laborers’ and Contractors’ Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program last year, the Laborers conduct their apprenticeship program training at Touch of Nature facilities. The environmental center benefits with much-needed improvements to sidewalks, parking lots, driveways and more while the union trainees get valuable experience.

This week’s Laborers’ Appreciation Ceremony is in recognition of the contributions of more than 300 Laborers’ apprentices from throughout Illinois. They will receive certificates of appreciation during festivities at the Friends Room in Little Grassy Lodge at Camp II. Plans call for SIU President Glenn Poshard and SIUC Chancellor Samuel Goldman to be on hand to express the University’s thanks for the efforts of the Laborers.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the Laborers’ Appreciation Ceremony at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, at the Friends Room in Little Grassy Lodge within Camp II at the Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

“The projects that they’re doing out here wouldn’t have happened otherwise, without this partnership with the Laborers’ Union,” said Alan Teska, program director at Touch of Nature. He said the Laborers have removed and replaced concrete and asphalt and installed new sidewalks, roadways and parking lots. The work is ongoing.

Those attending the celebration will enjoy light refreshments following the recognition ceremony. Camp officials anticipate the ceremony will, regardless of weather, go on as scheduled if the University is open Wednesday.

Touch of Nature, located about seven miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road, dates to former SIU President Delyte Morris’ 1949 vision of an outdoor laboratory supporting the University’s educational mission. Opened a couple of years later, the center has grown to encompass its present 3,100-acre site, offering camps and programs for children and adults throughout the year. For more information about Touch of Nature, call 618/453-1122 or look online at http://www.ton.siu.edu/.