Cache River Nature Fest



Outings & Events

Birding Blitz

2012 Winners

Silent Auction
& Raffle


Event Sponsors

Contact Information

Join us for the 12th year of Cache River Nature Fest!

SATURDAY, MAY 11, 2013
9:00 am - 4:00 pm† Rain or Shine!
Cache River Wetlands Center, 8885 State Route 37 South, Cypress, IL 62923

Our theme Keepers of the Cache focuses on the future of the Cache River Wetlands and individual action to protect this valuable resource. It’s future is dependent on YOU! Everyone can be a Keepers of the Cache by learning about and experiencing this special place. Walking its trails, sitting quietly and listening or casting a line into its calm waters provide an intimate connection to the Cache; working the land to conserve its soil, planting a tree to grow its forests, or learning the plants and animals that are part of its habitats are all ways to take care of the Cache . Landowners, students, community members, resource staff and YOU hold the KEYS to its future. Join us at Cache River Nature Fest and become a Keeper of the Cache.

Cache River Nature Fest 2013 will feature a variety of programs and activities. The event will include LIVE Cache River wildlife including; snakes, frogs, turtles, fish, eagles, owls and hawks; during the day you can learn how and why birds are banded; climb into a life-size eagle’s nest or take a taste of Asian carp and see what other kinds of critters live in the Cache River!

Guided canoe tours and hiking excursions will be offered throughout the day. We have a variety of activities for this year's event that highlight and focus on the Cache River’s biodiversity. All activities are free. All trips are on designated trails; however, it is important to wear appropriate sturdy shoes for hiking trips and to dress for the weather. Consider bringing water, a snack, binoculars, field guides, a hat, sunscreen, and anything else that might make your outdoor experience more enjoyable.

Check out the Outings link for more information about programs, tours, and trip registration. Pre-registration is required for canoe tours; please call Cypress Creek NWR at 618-634-2231, starting April 11th to reserve a space. Visitors may register for other tours and hikes the day of the event at the Cache River Wetlands Center.

For more information contact; Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge at 618-634-2231 or the Cache River Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064.

The USFWS is committed to providing access to this event for all participants. Please direct all request for sign language interpreting services or other accommodation needs to Liz Jones at 618-634-2231.

> To View Event Flyer Click Here
> Download Printable Event Schedule Here

2013 Cache River Nature Fest T-Shirt Design

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 2013 T-shirt will be available at Nature Fest! Select from both short-sleeve ($15) and long-sleeve ($25) styles. 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
Ducks at Bellrose ReserveCypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge one of over 500 Refuges across the country that provides valuable habitat for a diversity of waterfowl and other migratory birds, resident wildlife, and endangered and threatened species. The Refuge includes 16,000 acres along the Lower Cache River protecting remnants of bald cypress-water tupelo swamps, oak barrens, and vast stands of bottomland hardwood forests. The refuge is important resting, nesting, and feeding habitat for waterfowl and a diversity of other migratory and wading birds. Other resident wildlife include deer, squirrels, foxes, mink, as well as, bobcats, river otters, and a host of frogs and toads, turtles and snakes. With such diversity the Refuge provides many opportunities to watch wildlife, hunt, fish, canoe, and hike. The Refuge office is located at 137 Rustic Campus Drive, on the campus of Shawnee Community College (nine miles east of Ullin, Il.) where additional site information is available. Contact (618)-634-2231 or visit

Cache River State Natural Area - Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Family canoeing through the CacheThe Cache River State Natural Area is situated on the Upper and Lower Cache River within a floodplain carved long ago by glacial floodwaters of the Ohio River. The area includes over 15,000 acres composed of three management units: Little Black Slough, Lower Cache River Swamps, and Glass Hill. Among the outstanding natural features found within this area are massive bald cypress trees aged between 700 and 1,000 years old, shadowy bottomland forests, undisturbed mature upland forests, and bald cypress-water tupelo swamps rich with life. The Cache River SNA provides food, water, and cover for an incredible number of plants and animals, more than 100 of which are listed as State and seven which are listed as Federally threatened or endangered species. Viewing platforms, boardwalks and over 20 miles of trails provide many opportunities to experience the Cache. Additional information can be obtained from the SNA Henry N. Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Center at (618) 657-2064 or the SNA headquarters office at (618)-634-9678 or visit

Grassy Slough PreserveGrassy Slough Preserve - The Nature Conservancy
Grassy Slough Preserve sits where the lower section of the Cache River begins near the village of Belknap. The site covers 3,000 acres and historically consisted of forested wetlands. Today efforts are underway to restore the area to a mosaic of swamps, marshes, canebrakes, and bottomland hardwood forests. The area includes 500 acres of restored wetlands which attract a myriad of birds including migrating waterfowl and shorebirds, bald eagles, herons, and egrets. The Jean Farwell Memorial Viewing Area overlooks the site and provides opportunities to observe a diversity of wildlife.

For additional information about other natural areas and highlights throughout southern Illinois, check out the Local Information page.

Henry N. Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Center

Cache River Wetlands CenterCache River Nature Fest 2013 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.

Egrets on Cypress Trees

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.

Cache River Nature Fest is sponsored by these organizations . . . Thank you!

© 2013 Cache River Nature Fest. All Rights Reserved.