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