2017 Spring Newsletter

2016 Annual Report
December 31, 2016
3rd Annual Shawnee Friends Fundraiser
July 18, 2017

Welcome Our New Executive Director!

A graduate of Southern Illinois University, Emily fell in love with public lands at an early age. Hiking with her mom and fishing with her dad, she has always been drawn to and inspired by wild places. This passion has resulted in a career of connecting people of all ages and from all walks of life to the outdoors for the past 15 years.

Now serving as the Executive Director for Friends of the Shawnee National Forest, Emily is excited to focus her passion on connecting our local community to the outstanding resource that is the

Shawnee National Forest. She is excited to be a part of an organization that is seeking to improve the quality of life for our citizens through outdoor recreation while simultaneously striving to preserve Southern Illinois’ most inspiring natural areas.

While she enjoys almost any outdoor pursuit, you’re most likely to catch her hiking with her family or trail running with her best canine friend, Aspen.




Fun at Our First Annual Fundraiser!


Our first annual fundraiser was a tremendous success.  It was held November 12, 2016 at the Old Feed Store in Cobden, IL with a silent auction and buffet dinner.  The Ivas John Band put on an outstanding show, and the Free Range Chicks serenaded tables during the dinner.  We thank all who participated through helping to plan and carry out the event, providing an auction item donation, purchasing tickets, or providing monetary sponsorships.  The income generated from the event far exceeded our expectations and the money will be used to support activities in the forest as well as the overall operations of the Friends.  Our Second Annual Fundraiser will be November 4th at Alto Vineyards.



Recent Friends Activities

Oakwood Bottoms Wildlife Tour
February 25thWe had a beautiful “members” tour of Oakwood Bottoms this in February to see migrating waterfowl, including mallard and wood ducks! Forest Service wildlife biologists Chad Deaton and Paul Widowski led members on this winter-season bird walk. We will be planning another FS led outing in the fall.


March for Science and All Species Puppet Puppet Parade
April 22nd


We celebrated Earth Day by teaming up with Touch of Nature Environmental Center and Outdoor Recreation Students from SIUC to offer Leave No Trace activities after the March for Science and All Species Puppet Parade.


Fireside Chat with Forest Supervisor Brendan Cain
April 27thBrendan Cain spoke about his background and journey to become the Forest Supervisor for the Shawnee National Forest. He also shared some of his thoughts and ideas on managing the Shawnee National Forest. This event was co-sponsored by Illinois Native Plant Society and hosted free of charge by Touch of Nature Environmental Center.


Shawnee National Forest Kid’s Fishing Derby

Have you ever witnessed the look on a child’s face the first time they catch a fish? For a kid (and actually for us adults, too) few things compare to the excitement of feeling a tug on your line. It’s a pretty amazing moment, one not easily forgotten, and one we want make sure all kids in Southern Illinois have the chance to experience.

As part of our mission, Friends of the Shawnee National Forest believes in the importance of getting youth outdoors. One way that we do this is by supporting and offering programs like the Shawnee National Forest Kid’s Fishing Derby.

On Saturday, May 20th the Shawnee National Forest will be hosting two Kid’s Fishing Derbies – one at Oakwood Bottoms and one at Pennant Bar. In the past we have supported this event by purchasing food and prizes for kids and their families.

This year there is less funding available to support these types of programs. We need your help to offer these future anglers and nature-lovers a fun day at the lake. All funds raised will go towards the purchase of food and prizes (tackle boxes and other fishing and outdoors-related gear).

Please contact us for corporate sponsorships levels!

Fishing Derby Fundraiser website https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/shawnee-national-forest-youth-fishing-derby



Other things happening with the Friends of the Shawnee National Forest:

  • Coming soon – our brand new 2017 Eclipse t-shirt and West SideTrail Map!
  • Our new Garden of the Gods t-shirts are now available for purchase at the Harrisburg Visitors Center.
  • Save the date for our next Annual Fundraiser on November 4th at Alto Vineyards!


 The more that we can accomplish with your help the greater the positive impact on the Forest and community!

Need to renew your yearly membership? You can do it online!