April 28, 2017

Touch of Nature to host open house, paddling event

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center is hosting a free open house and community paddling event this spring.

Breaking the Surface will take place May 6 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the center, located about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road. Visitors can venture onto Little Grassy Lake aboard various people-powered watercraft or enjoy the other amenities offered at the experiential learning facility. Activities include the climbing wall, the zip line and a hike along Rocky Ledges Trail.

Canoes, paddle boards and paddle boats will be available for use throughout the day at no charge. Paddlers may also bring their own boats but must have a current Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge sticker before launching; day passes will be available for purchase at the event.

Refreshments may be purchased at the open house and paddling event.

Free shuttle transportation rides will be available from the SIU Student Center to Touch of Nature and back. The shuttle will depart the Student Center at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and make return trips from Touch of Nature to SIU at 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

To learn more about Touch of Nature Environmental Center or Breaking the Surface, visit www.ton.siu.edu, call 618/453-1121, or email tonec@siu.edu.