March 11, 2020

SIU’s Touch of Nature hosting environmental education conference - CANCELED

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Registration is open for the Environmental Education Association’s annual conference next month, hosted by Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

The conference, April 2-4, is open to everyone. Conference sponsors are dedicated to advancing environmental education and helping people understand ways that they can protect the environment.

Focus is on sustainability

The conference’s theme is “A Clear Vision for a Sustainable Future” and it features Lacy Cagle, director of learning at, as the keynote speaker. Cagle will discuss initiatives such as the Drawdown EcoChallenge, created in partnership with Project Drawdown.

Cagle will explain the data and motivational approaches the project uses to get people thinking about their everyday actions pertinent to the environment and sustainability. Conference participants will learn how to use the EcoChallenge insights, programs and tools to reach their own educational, environmental and sustainability goals.

Educators will especially benefit

The event will prove particularly beneficial for those who are involved environmental and outdoor education. Speakers will address a wide variety of topics, divided into tracks for formal, informal and outdoor educators.

Formal educator topics for pre-K through higher education professionals and administrators will highlight information, skills and resources that they can implement in their classrooms. Likewise, non-formal educators will receive beneficial information and tools to help them in working with families, youths and the public. Specialized techniques, activities, resources and knowledge specially geared toward educators involved in outdoor education will be available in various outdoor education sessions.

The sessions will also spotlight other relevant topics including “green” careers, WILD facilitator training, environmental education excellence guidelines and more. A nature trivia night and an owl demonstration event are also on the schedule.

Sign up now

Registration is now open at The cost for EEAI members is $125 while non-members pay $150. The rate for currently enrolled university students who are not EEAI members is $125. The registration fee covers all sessions and meals from the Thursday dinner through Saturday lunch.

Daily registration is also available for $60 per day for members or $75 for non-members.

In addition, participants can sign up in advance for field trips.  Field trip options include:

  • Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Zip line Tour.
  • Mermet Springs.
  • Visiting an alpaca and mushroom farm.
  • Checking out some of SIU’s many Green Fund projects.
  • Participating in interpretive hiking and canoeing sessions on Touch of Nature Environmental Center’s Rocky Ledges Trail and Little Grassy Lake.

Fees for these trips vary.

Lodging is available

Touch of Nature and Little Grassy Lodge along with nearby hotels offer several lodging options.

Visit the EEAI website or contact the Touch of Nature Environmental Center at 618/453-1121 for more information. Touch of Nature is located about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road.

Learn more about Touch of Nature and the many programs and services it offers on its website, by emailing or by calling 618/453-1121.