March 16, 2009

Symposium focuses on cultural, natural heritage

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale faculty and area researchers turn their focus close to home in the upcoming Southern Illinois’ Cultural and Natural Heritage Symposium.

The symposium is from 1 to 4:30 p.m. on April 8 in the University Museum Auditorium. The Center for Delta Studies, University Museum and Carbondale Community Arts sponsor this symposium.

Jane Adams, director of SIUC’s Center for Delta Studies, said that speakers and research posters will cover topics such as the ecology of the Cache River Wetlands, microenvironments of the Shawnee National Forest, Southern Illinois’ architecture and landscape, music and art, among others. In addition, the symposium hosts displays by historical societies, tourism organizations, and historic preservation programs at universities in neighboring states.

“Long before Europeans entered the region we know as Southern Illinois, the fertile hills and rich river bottoms between the Mississippi and Ohio rivers gave rise to important civilizations,” Adams said. “The Ohio was the ‘port of entry’ for early American settlers, and for more than a century, the Mississippi provided the major navigation route for the nation’s interior. It’s a distinctive region, strongly linked to the Upland South and the lower Mississippi delta.”

Dona Bachman, University Museum director, noted that SIUC serves as an important cultural and intellectual source for the Southern Illinois region, adding that the region itself reciprocates by inspiring local arts.

“SIUC provides a wealth of programming for the region,” she said. “And our artists, musicians and theater gain inspiration from the region.”

Here is a partial list of panel participants in the symposium. The list of participants and panels is subject to change.

• Jan Roddy, Department of Cinema and Photography, “Documenting our Heritage”

• Robert DeHoet, University Museum, “Our Artistic Heritage”

• Eric Hellgren, SIUC Cooperative Wildlife Research Lab, “Our Natural Heritage”

• Pamela Hackbart-Dean, Library Affairs, “Archival Resources”

• Jane Adams, Center for Delta Studies, “Heritage Work in Delta States”

For more information, or to submit a research poster, contact Jane Adams at or 618/453-5019.