Shawnee National Forest teams up with SIU Museum for 80th anniversary celebration

Shawnee National Forest teams up with SIU Museum for 80th anniversary celebration
The Shawnee National Forest is offering Christmas Tree permits this year. (Source: Nathan Ellgren)

CARBONDALE, Il. (KFVS) - To celebrate the Shawnee National Forest’s 80th anniversary, the Forest and SIU Museum will host a five week photo exhibit.

The exhibition will run from Jan. 17 through Feb. 21. Admission is free.

It will be at the museum in Carbondale, Il.

The exhibit will feature historic photos taken in the 1930s and 1940s during the Shawnee National Forest Ozark Tours.

Opening night, at 5:30 p.m., the Shawnee National Forest and SIU Museum will have a reception and program that includes the re-release of The Land Changes, a film produced by the USDA Forest Service and first released in 1957.

In The Land Changes, a fictional newspaper man explains how the worn out farmland of southern Illinois has become an asset for the region.

The film tells the story of how the exhausted lands of the Shawnee, Hoosier and Wayne National Forests in the Ohio Valley was improved through reforestation, protection and proper management.

Both starring roles were played by Shawnee NF employees.

Leonard (Len) Farmer from the office in Elizabethtown played the newspaper man while Lindal Roberts of the Jonesboro office plays himself as District Ranger.

Following the showing of the historical 1957 film, Mary McCorvie, Heritage Program Manager for the Shawnee National Forest will give a brief presentation on the early history of the Forest.

Local historian and author, Todd Carr, will also discuss the photographs of the Trigg Tour exhibit.

Light refreshments will be served following the program.

Public are also welcome to view the photo exhibit during regular museum hours.

SIU Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 1 to 4 p.m. The Museum is closed Sunday and Monday.

Public parking is available across from the Student Center and beside Woody Hall. Admission to the exhibit and presentation nights is free.

There will be several presentations scheduled throughout the five-week exhibition, surrounding a variety of topics highlighting southern Illinois’ cultural and natural resources.

The presentations include the following:

  • Jan. 17 – Opening night: The kick-off the historic photo exhibit includes a reception with refreshments, historical film on the Shawnee National Forest, and two guest speakers.
  • Jan. 22 - SIU archaeologist, Dr. Tamira Brennan will discuss the Kincaid Site, a prehistoric metropolis in southern Illinois and its relationship to the greater Mississippian-era society of the region.
  • January 24 - Chris Benda, known as the southern Illinois Botanizer, will highlight many of the very special natural landscapes of the region and the plants and animals that make them distinctive.
  • January 27 - Retired history teacher, Mark Motsinger, and Forest Service Archaeologist, Mary McCorvie, will talk about a local history mystery – the Stone Forts of southern Illinois.
  • Jan. 29 - Forest Service Archaeologist, Heather Carey, will speak on the Rock Art of southern Illinois.
  • Jan. 30 - SIU’s Dr. Mark Wagner will talk about the history and archaeological investigations at the Crenshaw House, also known as Hickory Hill and the Old Slave House. The Crenshaw House is an Illinois State Historic Site.
  • Feb. 3 - Hiking with Shawn (Gossman) will share details about interesting hikes in and around the Shawnee NF.
  • Feb. 5 - Chris Evans, the University of Illinois Extension Forester will discuss southern Illinois forests’, pre-glaciation through post-European settlement.
  • Feb. 6 - Dr. Mark Wagner and Forest Service Archaeologist, Mary McCorvie, will talk about the Cherokee Trail of Tears in southern Illinois.
  • Feb.10 - Joe Devera of the Illinois Geologic Survey will talk about Prehistoric southern Illinois.
  • Feb. 11 - Forest Service Wildlife Biologist, Mark Vukovich, will discuss Bats of southern Illinois.
  • Feb. 12 - Forest Service Archaeologist, Heather Carey, will talk about Battery Rock during the American Civil War. Battery Rock is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Feb. 13 - Local historian, Kay Ripplemeyer, will share her research into the Civilian Conservation Corps in southern Illinois.
  • Feb. 14 - Scott Ballard, Herpetologist for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, will talk on the La Rue Pine Hills and the Snake Road; the only road in the United States closed bi-annually to ensure safe migration of reptiles and amphibians as they move between their summer and winter homes.
  • Feb. 19 - Gillum Ferguson with the Saline County Historical Society will reprise his talk on Indian Tribes of southern Illinois.

All presentations will be at the SIU Museum starting at 5:30 p.m.

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