September 11, 2015

Tickets available for Touch of Nature’s Buffalo Tro

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The 2015 edition of the Buffalo Tro, a unique annual historical fundraising event at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center, is set for Oct. 16 and tickets are now available. 

This is the fifth year for the event, set for 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Freeburg Hall at Touch of Nature. The camp is located about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road. The gala includes dinner, auctions, live music and more. 

The evening begins with a reception featuring light appetizers served with local wines and beer. A silent auction, with bidding from 5:30 to 7:15, will feature a wide variety of items as does the live auction that begins at 8 p.m. 

Serving of the Buffalo Tro dinner is set for 7:15 p.m. and it will include marinated beef steaks, prepared much like the Plains tribes cooked buffalo. The steaks are baked within a bed of burning hardwood chips for hours to seal the juices in, making them moist and tasty. 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. 

Attire for the evening is casual. 

Lloyd B. Sharpe introduced the “tro” at SIU many years ago with the support of then-President Delyte Morris and William Freeberg, a visionary in the field of recreation. In recent years the event was re-established at Touch of Nature. The three men were also instrumental in the development of the facility itself.  

Sharpe shared his “tro” expertise with William “Doc” Abernathy who in turn taught it to his son, Scott Abernathy, who will create the 2015 Touch of Nature Buffalo tro. 

Tickets are $55 per person or $400 for a table of eight if purchased by the early registration deadline of Sept. 28.  After that, the price goes to $65 for an individual ticket or $480 for a table of eight. 

In addition, sponsorship opportunities are available at $1,000, $500 and $200 levels.  Businesses and individuals are also invited to make donations for the silent and live auctions. 

To make reservations, call 618/453-1121 or go online to For more information or to make donations, contact Paula Feigenbaum at

Proceeds go toward enhancing the facilities and services at Touch of Nature Environmental Center. Previous fundraising events have facilitated the purchase of kayaks and other outdoor recreational equipment, cabin air conditioners, and new outdoor recreational challenge elements including a zip line, pamper pole and elevator.  Donations are always accepted for the support of Touch of Nature as well.