A group of children, wearing swimsuits and life jackets, are seen jumping off a dock and into the water.

Campers jump in for a swim during a session of the 2023 EDventure camp. Photo provided.

March 21, 2024

SIU’s Touch of Nature plans fun, educational outdoor adventure camps for 2024

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Outdoor adventures and fun galore await children ages 5-10 this summer at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center EDventure Camps.

This year’s EDventure Camp schedule at the experiential learning center runs from June 10 through July 19 and offers five different camps, each with a distinctive theme. The camps run Monday through Friday, from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Sign up now

Registration is happening now online. All camps take place at Touch of Nature, located about 8 miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road. Campers will enjoy opportunities to explore, acquire new skills and learn more about the great outdoors as they experience a wide variety of activities including swimming, boating, games and sports, outdoor education, arts and crafts, and more. They will also interact, grow, make new friends, enjoy snacks and have free play time as well as learning about stewardship, citizenship and preserving the beautiful, scenic area alongside the Shawnee National Forest.

Diverse offerings

The unique camp sessions include:

  • Aerial Adventures – Soaring to new heights is the plan for children at this camp June 10-14, drawing inspiration from feathered friends. Campers will take flight on the giant swing, fly kites and partake in assorted other airborne activities throughout the week.
  • Enchanted Forest – Touch of Nature becomes a whimsical world June 17-21 as campers paddle and swim in the enchanted waters, explore the mystical forest, unlock nature’s secrets and more.
  • Mad Scientist – Hands-on scientific exploration abounds during this June 24-28 camp featuring fun with magnets, fun experiments, designing terrariums, nature observations and quirky adventures. Participants will get to meet and hear from interesting scientists, too, and enjoy swimming and assorted other outdoor activities.
  • Forest Critters – What better place to learn about forest creatures than the woodlands at Touch of Nature July 8-12? Participants will explore the area, learning about critters large and small, using magnifying glasses and other tools to unlock the mysteries of these awesome animals and enjoying assorted fun and educational activities.
  • Water Wonders – Campers will become water explorers July 15-19 as they check out Little Grassy Lake and Indian Creek, learning about the water ecology and the creatures that live there. They will boat, swim, acquire new skills, make aquatic discoveries and memories, and immerse themselves in adventure.

Register early

Camp registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and traditionally, some sessions fill up quickly. Signup is available online for all camps at $290 per session. Monetary assistance may be available for children with financial need.

Transportation available

Shuttle bus transportation is available for children from the SIU Banterra Center to Touch of Nature for the camp sessions. The cost is $20 for the week, and transportation can be arranged when registering campers, as can lunches.

Camp T-shirts are available for $12.50.

Morning and afternoon snacks are provided; campers should bring their lunches.

For more information, including the complete camp schedule, visit the website, call 618-453-1121 or email ton@siu.edu.

For information about all of SIU’s 2024 summer camps, visit camps.siu.edu.