October 07, 2009

Fall Family Outdoor Series set at Touch of Nature

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Fall Family Outdoor Series at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center offers adventure, excitement, enchanting views and a lot of fun. The series features three very different events: a foliage float, a nature trek and a high ropes challenge.

“People don’t always get the opportunity to come here individually and independent of a group. This is a great opportunity for people who are curious about what Touch of Nature is all about. They can come and have a wonderful sampling of what we do here,” said Kate Hellgren, environmental education program coordinator.

The Fall Foliage Float kicks things off from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 25 on Little Grassy Lake. Take in the scenic aura by canoe as you learn about and explore the lake and the beauty surrounding it.

The Nature Trek at Giant City State Park is set for 1-4 p.m. on Nov. 1. Discover the flora and fauna of the park. Learn what the rocky bluffs tell us and how to identify forest plants. Find out what creatures make their homes in the woods.

The High Ropes Challenge Course is 1-4 p.m. on Nov. 8 at Touch of Nature Environmental Center. And yes, it’s just what it sounds like: a ropes course where you’ll climb, swing and move about amid towers, bridges and ropes strewn through the trees.

“Our high ropes course can give you a challenge and the thrill of a lifetime. With three different levels and 12 obstacles strategically arranged, you can experience challenge and excitement while conquering your fears in a highly secure environment. Our courses are ‘challenge by choice,’ which means the individual sets his or her own goals and we safely facilitate the process. We recommend finishing the activity with our breathtaking zip-line exit. If you do you will travel approximately 100 yards on the line at speeds up to 30 mph,” said Erik Oberg, underway adventures program coordinator.

The cost for the Nature Trek is $10 for adults or $5 for students, with all ages welcome. The Fall Foliage Float is open to ages 10 and above and the cost is $20 for adults or $15 for students. The High Ropes Challenge is also for ages 10 and older and the price is $25 for adults and $20 for students.

Touch of Nature Environmental Center is SIUC’s outdoor experiential learning laboratory, field research site, and home to a variety of programs including therapeutic recreation, environmental education, outdoor adventure, personal development program, conference services and more. It’s set on 3,100 acres along the shore of Little Grassy Lake about eight miles south of Carbondale off Giant City Road.

Advance registration is absolutely required for each of the Fall Family Outdoor Series events. Space is limited to approximately 20 people for each of the events. Sign up for all three and save $5.

For more information or to register or call 618/453-1121. You can pay with a major credit card.