Events & Activities

Sunday Story Hour: Animal Tracks

Sunday, August 18, 2:00-3:00PM

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center, Cache River State Natural Area

Sunday Story Hour will run on the second to last Sunday of the month. This free program engages families with children ages 3 to 6, in which a naturalist reads a nature themed storybook to children. Each story will be paired with a game, hands-on activity, or outside nature walk. This month’s program features animal tracks we will see how our footprints measure up to some of the wildlife found in the Cache. 

Please pre-register with the Wetlands Center at (618) 657-2064, so staff can prepare    activities for each child.

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 us for an up close and personal interaction with reptiles 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. 

Beat the Heat Summer Movie Series: Rivers of Life

Sunday, August 25, 2:00-3:00pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center, Cache River State Natural Area

Head over to the Wetlands Center to learn more about iconic rivers across the globe. We will host a matinee showing of the PBS “Rivers of Life” during the months of July, August, and September. Each month we will travel to a quintessential river learning about the wildlife and people who inhabit the riverscape. On this date we will learn about the Amazon River. 


For more information call the Wetlands Center at (618) 657-2064.

Come one, come all to the 2019 Cache Annual Meeting!

Thursday, August 29, 6:30-8:30pm

Carbondale Civic Center, Room 116

200 S. Illinois Avenue, Carbondale

Join us for an evening of Cache camaraderie, which includes complimentary dessert and beverages, door prizes, special deals on Cache merchandise, updates on Friends’ projects and activities, and presentation of the 2019 Cache Champion Award.


Featured Presentation: “The Spread of the Nine-Banded Armadillo in Illinois,” by Carly Haywood. Carly Haywood will touch the general biology of nine-banded armadillos and provide a brief history of the animal’s journey north. She will also discuss her current research, which includes developing a spatial distribution map linking armadillos to their current habitat associations in southern Illinois and determining if specific pathogens are present – namely, those that cause Chagas disease and leprosy.               



                                                                                        To rsvp, please contact Paula Havlik at phavlik@illinois.edu or 217-649-4326.


Take a Stroll in Section 8 Woods Nature Preserve

Saturday, August 31, 9:00-11:00am

Location: Section 8 Woods Nature Preserve, Cache River State Natural Area

Join Kimberly Rohling, Cache River SNA’s conservation education representative, for a hike at Section 8 Woods Nature Preserve beyond the boardwalk to rendezvous with the State Champion Water Tupelo Tree. Bring rubber boots as this habitat can be flooded. Binoculars will help you get closer looks at wildlife. If you don’t have a pair at home, pre-register to borrow binoculars to make for a more enjoyable hike. 


For more information or to register call the Wetlands Center at (618) 657-2064.

Nature Fest at Cache River Days

Saturday, September 7, 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, 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.

Galls Gone Wild Presentation

Saturday, September 7, 1:00pm-2:00pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center


Have you ever wondered why galls form or how to manage trees with galls? Tricia Bethke, Forest Pest Outreach Coordinator, returns to teach visitors how to identify galls based on size, shape, and color. As well as, go over the natural history of galls on deciduous trees. 


To register for this free program call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.  

Which Grass Is Which?

Saturday, September 7, 10am-noon

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

Identifying grasses can be tricky! Join Erin Medvecz, University of Illinois Extension, to learn tips and techniques to help identify 30 different grasses in southern Illinois. After the presentation, take a hike with Erin to identify grasses around the Wetlands Center.


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

Tupelo Trail Hike

Saturday, September 14, 9:00am-12:00pm

Location: Cache River State Natural Area, Tupelo Trail, Cache River State Natural Area

For those looking for a moderately difficult terrain to hike this fall, come on a 2.5 mile guided hike with Kimberly Rohling, conservation education representative, on the Tupelo Trail. The hike will wind through rolling upland forest and low lying swamp of the Little Black Slough and will focus on spotting wildlife. We will meet at the Marshall Ridge Access area at the end of Sunflower Lane, Belknap, Illinois.                                                                                                          

For more information or to register call the Wetlands Center at (618) 657-2064.

Monarch Phenomenon

Saturday, September 21, 10am-1pm

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 monarch butterflies.


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

Sunday Story Hour: Monarchs

Sunday, September 22, 2:00-3:00PM

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

Sunday Story Hour will run on the second to last Sunday of the month. This free program engages families with children ages 3 to 6, in which a naturalist reads a nature themed storybook to children. Each story will be paired with a game, hands-on activity, or outside nature walk. This month’s program features stories about the monarch butterfly. Dress appropriately for a nature walk. Families will learn how to net butterflies. If monarchs are captured, we will tag them as a part of the citizen science  program Monarch Watch.                                                                                                Please pre-register with the Wetlands Center at (618) 657-2064, so staff can prepare                                                                             activities for each child.

Beat the Heat Summer Movie Series: Rivers of Life

Sunday, September 29, 2:00-3:00pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center, Cache River State Natural Area

Head over to the Wetlands Center to learn more about iconic rivers across the globe. This afternoon we will host the last episode in PBS “Rivers of Life” where will learn about the Mississippi River, a place near and dear to our heart.                                      


For more information call the Wetlands Center at (618) 657-2064.

Fall Migration "Mini-Sit"

Saturday, October 5, 9:00am-Noon

Location: Cache River State Natural Area


Oour objective for this bird-watching event is to record as many species as possible in the Cache River State Natural Area. Each team will sit in a 17-foot diameter circle for three hours, tallying all the birds they can identify by sight or sound. Data will be recorded on eBird hotspots; birdwatchers of all levels are welcome. Teams will be assigned a location. If you can't get a team together but want to participate, call or stop by to see what access points are available. Bring a lawn chair, binoculars, and snakes to enjoy your morning. Event to be followed by a potluck at the Cache River Wetlands Center. 


Please register in advance by calling the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.  


Sunday Story Hour: Bats

Sunday, October 20, 2:00-3:00pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center, Cache River State Natural Area

Sunday Story Hour will run on the second to last Sunday of the month. This free program engages families with children ages 3 to 6, in which a naturalist reads a nature themed storybook to children. Each story will be paired with a game, hands-on activity, or outside nature walk. This week’s program features a story about bats. 


Please pre-register with the Wetlands Center at (618) 657-2064, so staff can prepare activities for each child.

Senior Van Tour via Tunnel Hill State Trail

Friday, October 25, various departure times

Location: Tunnel Hill State Trail Parking Lot, Tunnel Hill, IL

Come along on a guided van tour for senior citizens and persons with physical limitations to share stories and enjoy the wildlife, native plants and fall colors along the Tunnel Hill State Trail in the Saline River Watershed. The tour will explore a section of the trail between Tunnel Hill and New Burnside, IL. 


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

Boo at the Slough

Sunday, October 27, 1-3:30pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center

This program engages elementary to middle school-age children on a guided trick-or-treat adventure through the Wetland Center and Egret Slough Trail. The 0.5 mile hike offers a chance for families to interact with misunderstood creatures of the swamp and to enjoy the magic of Halloween. Children are welcome to wear Halloween costumes. 


To register, please call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

National Bison Weekend

Sunday, November 2 and November 3, 11:00-3:00pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center, Cache River State Natural Area

We will host a free open house celebration about our national mammal, the North American Bison. The Wetlands Center will have hand-on activities including a touch table to investigate artifacts from these gentle giants. The Wetlands Center will also show “Thunder Beast,” a National Geographic from 2:00-3:00PM, where will learn more about these majestic creatures.                                                                           


For more information call the Wetlands Center at (618) 657-2064.

Guided Hike to Max Creek

Saturday, Novermber 9, 12:00-3:00pm

Location: Shawnee National Forest, Max Creek

Join Molie Oliver, Cache River SNA's siter interpreter, to explore more of Johnson County as we travel to Max Creek which may not be another picturesque creek. This area is famous for the legend of a vortex where some hikers say they become somewhat disoriented, dizzy, or have uneasy feelings. 


To register and get directions for the meeting location call the Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064. Register from October 9 to November 8.   

Wildcat Bluff Wander

Saturday, November 16, 10:00-11:30am

Location: Lookout Point Trail, Wildcat Bluff Access, Cache River State Natural Area

Join conservation education representative, Kimberly Rohling for a 1 mile guided hike along Wildcat Bluff Nature Preserve. We will hike along a hillside prairie with spectacular views of the Cache River basin and floodplain forest identifying resident wildlife and flora. The trail conditions may be wet due to seep springs along the way so wear appropriate footwear. Bring binoculars to help spot wildlife. Meet in the parking lot at Widlcat Bluff Access. 


For more information or to register call the Wetlands Center at (618) 657-2064.

Sunday Story Hour: Trees

Sunday, November 17, 2:00-3:00pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center, Cache River State Natural Area

This last story hour program engages families with children ages 3 to 6, in which a naturalist reads a nature themed storybook to children. Each story will be paired with a game, hands-on activity, or outside nature walk. This week’s program features a story about trees. 
Please pre-register with the Wetlands Center at (618) 657-2064, so staff can prepare activities for each child

Turkeys on the Silver Screen

Sunday, November 30, 2:00-3:00pm

Location: Cache River Wetlands Center, Cache River State Natural Area

After stuffing yourself with turkey or tofurkey earlier this week, we invite you to visit the Wetlands Center to relax some more and to learn about wild turkey. We will host “My Life as a Turkey,” a 60 minute PBS Nature episode. This documentary is based on the book Illumination in the Flatwoods by Joe Hutto. 


For more information call the Wetlands Center at (618) 657-2064.

Annual Christmas Bird Count

Monday, December 16, 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.