April 25, 2022

Media Advisory: 100 Maplewood Richmond Heights students enjoy weeklong learning experience at SIU’s Touch of Nature

During the Saluki Takeover Tour: St. Louis earlier this spring, Southern Illinois University Carbondale formed a community partnership with the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District. Now, SIU Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center is hosting about 100 seventh-graders from Maplewood Richmond Heights for an exciting week of outdoor learning experiences. Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover their visit April 25-29 (see below for favorable times).

The students will be focusing on outdoor living skills, forest and water ecology, exploration, team-building and much more. They will be canoeing, taking nighttime hikes, doing the high ropes course, performing skits, enjoying campfires, learning about the great outdoors, visiting with Chancellor Austin Lane and getting a taste of what Touch of Nature, the region and SIU has to offer, said Brian Croft, assistant director of outdoor education and recreation.

About 100 eighth-graders from the district will be attending a residential camp at Touch of Nature May 16-20. The 5-day outdoor education residential camps are some of the largest the camp has ever hosted for a school, Croft said, and he’s hopeful many more will follow.

Most of the activities take place in Camp 2. The most opportune times to secure engaging interviews, photographs and videos include:


  • 1-4 p.m. – outdoor education and adventure activities, including canoeing, high ropes course, outdoor living skills, forest ecology, water ecology and teams course.
  • 7:30 p.m. – campfire on Burke patio.


  • 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. – outdoor education and adventure activities.
  • 5:30 p.m. – meet the chancellor at Freeburg Hall.
  • 7:30 p.m. – night hike/owl prowl, beginning at Freeberg patio.


  • 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. – outdoor education and adventure activities.


  • 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. – outdoor education and adventure activities.
  • 7:30 p.m. – Skit night in Burke Lounge.


  • 8-11 a.m. – education and adventure activities.

For additional information, contact Croft at 217-322-7322 or bcroft@siu.edu