Saturday, August 23

DAM NATION: Film, discussion will examine river science

DAM NATION:  Film, discussion will examine river science
CARBONDALE, Ill. – A Southern Illinois University Carbondale graduate student organization wants the community to consider life without dams.

IGERT, the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship, teamed with Sierra Club: Shawnee Group, to bring the film “DamNation” to campus. The screening is from 6:30 to 9 p.m., Sept. 4, in the John C. Guyon Auditorium in Morris Library. A reception will follow the movie.  Representatives from IGERT and the Sierra Club: Shawnee Group will introduce the film, and IGERT members and faculty will be available to discuss and answer questions about river science and politics. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

The award-winning documentary focuses on the role river dams play in the ecosystem, and advocates for dam removal, particularly in cases where the structure is in need of costly and extensive repair. The filmmakers argue that removing dams from once-flowing rivers restores salmon especially, but other wild fish as well. The filmmakers also examine the economic advantages to healthy rivers, and address perceived benefits of dams, including hydropower, flood control and municipal water supply.

For centuries dams have been built for flood control, irrigation, municipal water supply and power production. All these needs can now be met more effectively through conservation, improved technology and better planning, without the negative ecological impacts caused by blocking and degrading an entire watershed. Of the more than 80,000 dams monitored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, roughly 26,000 pose what the Corps labels a “high” or “significant” hazard.

Some dams no longer serve any useful purpose. All dams, despite their size, have a limited life span. Only 2,540 dams in the U.S. generate hydropower, producing approximately nine percent of U.S. energy supply.

Thursday, August 14

Wildflower Hikes
Participants will learn about the basics of plant identification, and will be provided handouts about plant identification terminology, field guides and web resources, and invasive species.  All of the hikes will start at 10:00am at the location indicated and will last up to 4 hours. No previous experience is necessary. Reservations are not required, but are encouraged. The hikes will be limited to the first 20 participants. To reserve your spot for any of the hikes, contact Chris Benda at Follow Chris on facebook at

August 24th:  Heron Pond Nature Preserve, Cache River SNA, Belknap, IL
Meet at nature preserve parking lot and trailhead

October 12th:  Piney Creek Nature Preserve, Chester, IL
Meet at nature preserve parking lot and trailhead

Monday, May 19

Seasons of the Serengeti: Wildflowers and Wildebeests

Many tourists have traveled to view the wildlife migration during the dry season, but few have seen the wildflowers that bloom in the wet season.  Presenter John Schwegman has visited the fabled Serengeti National Park in both seasons and will give us rarely seen glimpses of this African preserve. 

John Schwegman is a nature conservationist who is retired from a career with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.  He is the former State Botanist and developed the agency’s Natural Areas program.  Later he implemented a native plant conservation program for Illinois.  John and his wife Martha reside near Metropolis.

The program will be held at the REAR entrance of 217 East Main Street in Carbondale on Thursday, June 12 at 7:00 pm.  It is FREE and open to the public.  Parking and entrance are at the rear, across from Rock Hill Baptist Church (Monroe and Marion Streets.)

Thanks to the organizers, volunteers, customers, and our supplier, Missouri Wildflower Nursery who all contributed to making the first annual Native Plant Sale, sponsored by the Sierra Club in Carbondale, a wildly successful event. Missouri Wildflower Nursery arrived with a pickup truck and trailer full of plants - enough to fill eleven six foot tables. We opened at 8 am, and by 1 pm we were just about sold out. Duncan loaded his truck with six unsold plants and a lot of empty flats. Ruth Kelley Program Chair, Shawnee Group

Monday, May 12

Sierra Club Native Plant Sale! Saturday, May 17 8 am til 3 pm Town Square Pavillion 100 North Illinois (near intersection of US 51 North and Hwy 13 West) Carbondale, Illinois Large selection of plants native to southern Illinois – hardy, beautiful, pollinator friendly, and low maintenance. Most plants priced at $3 and $6. We will have around 1000 plants of many species, including perennial wildflowers, grasses trees, shrubs, and vines for shade and sun. There will also be plants for rain gardens (moist to wet soil).

Monday, March 31

Sierra Club outing April 6 at 12:30 pm!

Shawnee Group outings are about to resume! New Outings Leader Christine Crites will lead her first hike on Sunday, April 6th on the Marshall Ridge Trail (2.8 miles - Beginner) with the option to continue on to the Heron Pond Trail. Meet at 12:30 at the big sign at the Murdale Shopping Center in Carbondale (on Rt. 13). Wear sturdy shoes, bring water and a snack. If you would like to hike with the Sierra Club at Marshall Ridge, contact Christine Crites at to sign up for the hike (REQUIRED), or for further information. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD! BRING A FRIEND!

Monday, September 16

Camp Ondessonk Weekend in the Shawnee Forest of Southern Illinois

Join Piasa Palisades Group Sierrans for a weekend at Camp Ondessonk
November 1-3, 2013

The Piasa Palisades Group invites you to join them for a Camp Ondessonk getaway. Camp Ondessonk, located in Johnson County in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest, offers access to beautiful trails with dramatic sandstone bluffs. It is also close to many other favorite places in the Shawnee including Bell Smith Springs, Jackson Hollow and Burden Falls.

Piasa Palisades Group will be staying in the “dorms,” which have heat and electricity, access to bathrooms with showers, and a fire pit.

The cost is $11.50 per person per night. Meals on your own. Optional exploratory hikes.

Some have expressed an interest in staying in St Noel. That is $100 per night per room plus $25 per night for every extra person over four.

For more information, contact Carol Klinger at or call 618-288-5630.