Information on Cache River Nature Fest 2014 Coming Soon!
The 13th Annual Cache River Nature Fest will be held on May 10, 2014. Look for more information about this years event coming soon!
Cache River Nature Fest 2013 Was A Success!
The 12th Annual Cache River Nature Fest was held on May 11, 2013 and featured a variety of programs including live animal exhibits and hands-on activities for individual of all ages. Our theme, Keepers of the Cache, focused on the future of the Cache River Wetlands and individual action to protect this valuable resource. Over 1800 people became "Keepers of the Cache" by participating in the event and learning about and experiencing this special place.
This event brought visitors from local communities as well as central and northern Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana and a few from other countries. Hands-on exhibits and special programs on mushrooms, owls, hawks & hummingbirds, live frogs, toads, turtles, snakes and fish captivated the crowds. Also many visitors took a taste of fried Asian carp and came back for more!
Over 90 volunteers and resource staff provided guided canoe tours, hikes, and a variety of nature-themed activities during the day. Overall, the event highlighted the beauty of the Cache River Wetlands and the thousands of acres of public lands along the Cache river that include Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge (USFWS) and Cache River State Natural Area (IDNR). Thanks to the hard work of volunteers, Friends of the Cache Watershed members, and natural resource staff, the event was more than a success; it was a memorable experience for many people. We appreciate all of the folks who came out to visit and share their interest in the Cache River Wetlands and we hope to see you next year!
Participate in Cache River Nature Fest and play a part in restoring the Cache River Wetlands! Proceeds from t-shirt and FRIENDS merchandise sales, donations, and pledge dollars collected from the Birding Blitz competition go towards restoration & education projects within the Cache River Watershed and surrounding area. Nature Fest t-shirts are available for sale at the Cache River Wetlands Center.
The 2014 t-shirt will be available at Nature Fest! Youth and adult sizes available. Get 'em while they last!
Illinois' Bayou - Cache River Wetlands
Making up only 1.5% of the land area in Illinois, the Cache basin harbors 11.5% of the State's high quality floodplain forests, 23% of its remaining high quality barrens habitat, and 91% of the State's high quality swamp/wetland communities. The area shelters 100 state threatened or endangered species and seven federally threatened or endangered species. The Cache River Wetlands are home to some of the oldest living trees east of the Mississippi River, includes three National Natural Landmarks, and has been designated a "Wetlands of International Importance", putting it in the same ecological league as Okefenokee Swamp and the Everglades.
The area is managed and protected by a unique public-private partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Ducks Unlimited. This partnership, known as the Cache River Wetlands Joint Venture, has a broad vision of restoring the integrity of the Cache River system establishing a goal to restore over 60,000 acres along the Cache River and its major tributaries. The partnership along with other resource agencies, organizations and citizens are working to restore the Cache River to a level of structure and function that would ensure a self-sustaining river-floodplain system.
Areas of Interest within the Cache River Wetlands Joint Venture
Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Cache River State Natural Area - Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Grassy Slough Preserve - The Nature Conservancy
For additional information about other natural areas and highlights throughout southern Illinois, check out the Local Information page.
Cache River Nature Fest 2014 will take place out of the Cache River Wetlands Center. The 7,000 square-foot interpretive center, owned and operated by the Illinois DNR, and is supported by the Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge and The Nature Conservancy. Here, visitors may acquire information on agency partners, recreation opportunities, and habitat restoration projects currently underway. The center provides visitors with a wealth of information about the value of wetlands, the area's cultural and natural history and unique sites to explore. The facility includes a 2000 square foot exhibit area, a 725 square foot audio visual room and wildlife viewing area overlooking a wetland. Visitors are invited to learn about the history of the watershed along an impressive timeline in the exhibits. The timeline is full of fascinating local artifacts, has a video screen with five perspectives of the Cache River watershed, and audio sticks sharing local oral history. A twelve minute orientation film gives a wonderful overview and introduction of the watershed, explaining the unique bio-diversity of the flora and fauna that can be experienced here. Visitors can also acquaint themselves with the area by exploring an interactive diorama of a bald cypress-water tupelo swamp, two interactive touch screens featuring images of the Cache River watershed and migratory birds, area State champion tree information and changing landscape displays. The center also provides programs and activities to the general public throughout the year, emphasizing this historically rich and biologically diverse region of southern Illinois. Located south of White Hill on Illinois Route 37, the center is named for Henry N. Barkhausen, an industrialist and avid outdoorsman, who served as director of the Illinois Department of Conservation from 1970-73. He also served as a board member on a local citizens' committee to promote restoration and protection of the Cache River area.
To contact the Wetlands Center call (618) 657-2064, Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00am to 4:00pm. The Wetlands Center is located at 8885 State Route 37 South, Cypress, Illinois 62923, two miles north of the intersection of State Route 169 and 37; nine miles south of the intersection of State Route 146 and 37.
To reach the Cache River Wetlands Center from Vienna, IL, go West 5 miles on Route 146 from the intersection of Route 146 & US Route 45, turn left or South on Route 37, then 9 miles to Wetlands Center entrance - follow signs.