1 vision. 24 hours.
President Delyte Morris had a passion for the outdoors and believed that students could benefit from an outdoor laboratory where they can study forestry, botany, agriculture and more. His idea started to become a reality in 1949 when the SIU Board of Trustees bought 150 acres along Little Grassy Lake and opened SIU’s Little Grassy Lake Campus (now called Touch of Nature Environmental Center). Since then, Touch of Nature has grown to over 3,100 acres of rolling hills and lush forests which provide the perfect atmosphere for outdoor education and adventure.
The mission is to enhance learning, promote professional development, encourage personal and interpersonal development, and increase environmental awareness. Adventure Education, Therapeutic Recreation, Environmental Education and Veteran Adventures are a few of the programs hosted by Touch of Nature.
Your contribution is an investment in our students’ success. We are thankful for your generosity. Below are a list of our current funding priorities:
Freeberg Legacy Fund: The Freeberg Legacy Fund supports Dr. Bill Freeberg’s vision to provide outdoor education and recreation opportunities for people of all abilities. Funds raised support all camps and programs at Touch of Nature. This specific project will support the purchase of an Alpine Tower that will be used to facilitate leadership development and communication programs, encourage personal and interpersonal development, and provide adaptive opportunities for Camp Little Giant. For more information click the photo below:
Mountain Bike Trails: Funds raised to create a new Mountain Bike Park and Trail System at Touch of Nature. The multi-use mountain bike trail system will provide new recreational opportunities for SIU students, locals and visitors to explore southern Illinois’ unique landscape. The project will also provide students with hands-on recreational resource management learning opportunities not many other universities can match. It will also provide a creative way to tie the Carbondale environment to the Shawnee National Forest.
Veteran Adventure Fund: The Veteran Adventure Fund was developed to support the Veteran Adventures Program. The VA Program provides community building for veterans and current military personnel, presents challenging and adventurous opportunities to strengthen bonds between veterans and current military personnel, shows support and gratitude for the sacrifice that our servicemen and women have made, provides veterans and current military personnel with alternatives for mental health assistance without the stigma of traditional mental health avenues, and fosters a healthier veteran population.