Touch of Nature Environmental Center | SIU

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Touch of Nature Environmental Center

SIU's Outdoor Laboratory and Retreat Center

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Touch of Nature Environmental Center is Southern Illinois University’s outdoor education and recreation center serving SIU, the region and the nation as an outdoor laboratory for experiential learning, a field site for research, and a provider of therapeutic recreation, environmental education, adventure education, personal and interpersonal growth experiences and facilities services. 

Through its four entities, Adventure EducationEnvironmental EducationTherapeutic RecreationFacilities and Services, Touch of Nature strives to create a safe, and fun learning environment for all its guests and participants.  Let's get in touch.  


Summer camp season is here! Some featured camps for July are below.

Blue Planet Adventure Day Camp: July 11-15

Blue Planet 2This day camp, is for ages 11-15.  

Participants will engage in a week filled with adventure; exploring on land, the water and in the air!  Campers will spend time rock climbing and on Touch of Nature’s high ropes course, in the water canoeing, kayaking and snorkeling, and learn survival skills such as shelter building, food gathering, navigation skills, water purification and fire building.

The cost for this five-day adventure is only $250. 

You can register online here.  

Wild Things Day Camp: July 18-22

Barred Owl This camp is for ages 7-10.  Touch of Nature is full of all sorts of wild things including deer, turkeys, eagles, bobcats, fish, snakes, groundhogs, salamanders, turtles, owls, and more!  Hike and paddle our 3,100 acres. Learn about different animals, their habitat and behavior, and how to conserve and protect them.  Show your wild side at Eco Camp! 

The cost for this five-day adventure is only $200. 

You can register online here.  

Camp Little Giant: July Camps

Camp Little Giant has been offering lifetime memories and experiences since 1952. The wooded setting, lake front and accessible environment allows us to combine the best of traditional camp programming with specially selected and adapted activities to meet the needs of our campers.boyThree sessions of Camp Shawnee take place in July.  Camp Shawnee is for youth ages 8-21 with physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities.  

Camp Shawnee I is July 10-15.   Register online here.
Camp Shawhe II is July 10-22.  Register online here.
Camp Shawnee III is July 17-22.  Register online here.

Dyna campDyna Camp is for youth ages 8-19 with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and attention deficit disorder.  

Dyna Camp is July 24-30.  Register online here.

For questions please visit the Camp Little Giant page here, or contact Vicki Lang-Mendenhall at or 618/453-1121.

Clan of the Cave Kids Day Camp: July 11-15

cheetah clan girlThis day camp is for ages 7-10.  Travel back through time when mammoths, giant sloth, saber-tooth cat, camels, lions and people roamed North America!  Consider our changing relationships between humans, the other animals, and the land. Activities include mammoth tracking, atlatl and ancestral skills, cave painting, hunting and gathering, and working as a tribe.

The cost for this five-day adventure is only $200. 

You can register online here.  

Naturalist Day Camp: July 18-22

Naturalist Day campA naturalist is defined as a person who studies plants and animals as they live in nature. Naturalist Day Camp is for ages 10-13. Campers will practice the way of the naturalist with exploration, discovery, journaling, nature connection, identification and expression. We will explore the diverse biology and botany of Touch of Nature and adjacent areas such as Giant City State Park and the Shawnee National Forest as we practice our naturalist skills and connect with the land. 

The cost for this five-day adventure is only $250. 

You can register online here.  

Dawg Days Registration Underway

Dawg DaysDawg Days welcomes the SIU class of 2020.  Registration is now underway.  This year, incoming freshmen can chose from one of five sessions, including three four-day three-night extended orientation sessions or two Dawg Days adventure sessions which include wilderness expeditions to either the Colorado Rockies or the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

Visit for more information and to register.  

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