Events & Activities

Nature Movie Night

Thursday, January 11, 6-7:30pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

Once upon a time, Illinois was home to some amazing North American animals, including the bison, wolf, cougar, elk and black bear. Our 2018 free movie night series will explore these animals in their natural habitat. January’s movie will feature the wolf. 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

More Birds in the Backyard

Saturday, January 20, 1-3pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

Would you like a greater variety of birds to observe in your backyard? Join Master Naturalist Anne Parmley to learn about types of food, habitat and feeder designs that will help meet your goal. The class will include an opportunity to make your own pinecone feeder. 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Frog & Toad Survey Orientation

Saturday, February 3, 1-3pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

Learn how to conduct listening surveys of the frogs and toads of the Cache River Watershed for the Illinois Natural History Survey. No special skills needed; families welcome to participate. All materials will be provided for surveys, conducted four times between February and June. 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Nature Movie Night

Thursday, February 8, 6-7:30pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

Once upon a time, Illinois was home to some amazing North American animals, including the bison, wolf, cougar, elk and black bear. Our 2018 free movie night series will explore these animals in their natural habitat. February’s movie will feature the bison/buffalo, which is once again an Illinois resident at Wildlife Prairie Park and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Nature Movie Night

Thursday, March 8, 6-7:30pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

Once upon a time, Illinois was home to some amazing North American animals, including the bison, wolf, cougar, elk and black bear. Our 2018 free movie night series will explore these animals in their natural habitat. March’s movie will feature the almost cuddly black bear. 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Waterfowl of the Prairie Potholes of South Dakota

Saturday, March 24, 10-11am

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

Join naturalist John Schwegman for this program on the waterfowl of the prairie potholes of South Dakota, many of which winter in the Cache River Watershed. 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Butterflies and the Plants They Need

Saturday, March 31, 1-3pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

Butterflies are a fascination to adults and children alike. Join Master Naturalist Anne Parmley to learn more about these beautiful insects and the types of plants that will encourage them to reside in your landscape. 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Butterfly Monitoring Training

Sunday, April 8, 9am-3pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

Join the Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network for this workshop open to anyone who would like to help monitor the butterfly population in southern Illinois and make a contribution to butterfly conservation. The training includes how to collect and submit data, butterfly identification and field instruction. 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Van Tour in Cache River Watershed

Thursday, April 12, various departure times

Location: Tunnel Hill State Trail Headquarters, Vienna, Illinois

Come along on a guided van tour for senior citizens and persons with physical limitations to enjoy the wildlife, native plants and spring flowers and share stories about the history and hydrology of the Cache River Watershed. The tour will explore a section of the Tunnel Hill State Trail between Vienna and Tunnel Hill


For departure times and required reservation, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Nature Movie Night

Thursday, April 12, 6-7:30pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

Once upon a time, Illinois was home to some amazing North American animals, including the bison, wolf, cougar, elk and black bear. Our 2018 free movie night series will explore these animals in their natural habitat. April’s movie will feature the cat of many names – the cougar, puma or mountain lion. 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Serendipity Nature Walk

Saturday, April 14, 9am-noon

Location: Cache River State Natural Area, Tupelo Trail

Take a guided hike along the Tupelo Trail, searching for native plants, birds and other wildlife of the wood and swamp habitats. Moderately difficult terrain. Meet at Marshall Ridge Access at the end of Sunflower Lane, Belknap, Illinois. 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

In Search of Big Trees

Saturday, April 28, 2pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

This presentation by Chris Evans, Extension Forester, University of Illinois Department of Natural Resources, will discuss the Illinois Big Tree Register, the types of metrics used to measure big trees, highlight some of the biggest trees in Illinois, and encourage everyone to get involved by nominating big trees! 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Nature Number Patterns

Saturday, May 5, 10am-noon

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

In nature, there are growing patterns called Fibonacci numbers that are a mathematical mystery. Explore these patterns, which show up in the most unexpected places: in the center of a sunflower, the skin of a pineapple and a pinecone. 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.


Mysterious Stone Fortifications of Southern Illinois

Saturday, May 12, 10am

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

There is a lot of history in southern Illinois, but one of the region’s claims to fame is its stone forts. Other adjacent states have them as well, but not as many. Mark Motsinger will share his fascination with these pre-Columbian stone walls


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Exploring Cave Creek Glade

Saturday, May 19, 10am-noon

Location: Cache River State Natural Area, Cave Creek Glade Access

Join botanist Erin Medvecz for a wildflower walk at Cave Creek Glade. Learn how to identify spring blooming plants by their flowers and later season bloomers by their leaves. Hike the short but steep trail to the top of the glade to see a spectacular display of purple coneflowers in bloom. Meet at parking lot near glade, off State Highway 45. 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Illinois Milkweed and Milkweed Pollination

Saturday, June 9, 10-11am

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

Join John Schwegman as he shares the natural history of the numerous varieties of milkweed found in Illinois, which provide a haven for many species of pollinators. 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Natural Areas of Illinois

Saturday, June 23, 10-11:30am

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

A tapestry of nature's treasures is protected in Illinois by a nationally acclaimed program called the Illinois Nature Preserves System. From the Cache River Basin's cypress swamps to the Illinois Beach dunes along Lake Michigan, many of our state's rarest natural areas are protected as nature preserves. Natural heritage biologist Mark Guetersloh will share his knowledge of some of the most interesting natural areas and nature preserves in southern Illinois.

Bats of Illinois

Saturday, August 4, 6:30-8:30pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

Illinois is home to at least 12 species of bats. Karen Mangan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will highlight the life of these bats, how common they are, their importance to humans and the environment, and methods used to research and monitor their activity. Indoor program from 6:30-7:30pm is followed by an optional field trip to experience bats’ evening emergence. 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Ducks, Ducks, Ducks

Saturday, August 11, 1pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

District wildlife biologist Adam Phillips will discuss some of the natural habits and habitats of the great variety of waterfowl that might visit southern Illinois this winter. The program will also include a waterfowl banding demonstration. 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Reptiles in the Neighborhood

Saturday, August 24, 1-4pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center/Heron Pond Trail

How familiar are you with the common reptiles of southern Illinois? Can you tell a venomous snake from a non-venomous one? Do you know which skink has a blue-tipped tail, or why some male turtles have longer nails? Join Tony Gerard for an up close and personal interaction with reptiles and amphibians native to southernmost Illinois. The one-hour indoor program concludes with an optional hike to look for cold-blooded creatures at Heron Pond. 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Nature Fest at Cache River Days

Saturday, September 8, all day

Location: Ball Park, Ullin, IL

Join us for a full day of festivities in the Village of Ullin! Celebrate the Cache with live wildlife exhibits, nature activities, arts and crafts, live music, food, guided hikes and more. Cypress Creek Wildlife Refuge will provide free canoe tours throughout the day. 


Limited space on tours, please register in advance by calling Cypress Creek at 618-634-2231.

Monarch Phenomenon

Saturday, September 22, 10am-2pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

The magnificent monarch butterfly migrates up to 2,500 miles from North America to central Mexico for the winter. Monarch Watch Association has been tagging and monitoring migrating monarchs since 1992. Join us for a program from 10-11am to learn the monarch’s natural history, and then spend the rest of the day capturing, tagging and releasing butterflies. 


Questions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Guided Hike at Cedar Bluff

Saturday, October 20, noon-2pm

Location: Ferne Clyffe State Park, Cedar Bluff

Enjoy a fall hike at Cedar Bluff Natural Area, an annex of Ferne Clyffe State Park that features bluffs more than 50 feet tall, rocky overhangs, a shelter cave and dramatic views of southern Illinois’ fall colors from the crest of the bluff. 


For meeting place directions, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Van Tour in Cache River Watershed

Friday, October 26, various departure times

Location: Tunnel Hill State Trail Headquarters, Vienna, Illinois

Come along on a guided van tour for senior citizens and persons with physical limitations to enjoy the wildlife, native plants and fall color and share stories about the history and hydrology of the Cache River Watershed. The tour will explore a section of the Tunnel Hill State Trail between Vienna and Tunnel Hill


For departure times and required reservation, call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

Annual Christmas Bird Count

Monday, December 17, 6am-sunset

Location: Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge

This annual all-day census of early winter bird populations has been conducted by thousands of volunteers throughout the U.S. for more than 100 years, resulting in the longest-running database in ornithology. The Audubon Society and other organizations use data collected in this census to assess the health of bird populations; so, by participating, you’ll be making a tangible contribution to bird conservation efforts. All ages and skill levels welcome. 


Questions, call Cypress Creek at 618-634-2231.