The Friends of the Shawnee National Forest is making strides in it’s great journey. It is a journey that will help sustain the cultural & environmental health of the Shawnee National Forest. Like every journey, it must follow the path to find others that have a deep appreciation for the Shawnee.

Fountain Bluff - Gretchen Steele

Fountain Bluff – Gretchen Steele

Established in 2010, the Friends is a not-for-profit organization. We are looking for partners that share our love of the Forest and a willingness to labor together to:

  • Promote stewardship values
  • Promote sustainable recreation that values a multitude of recreational activities
  • Expand community connections
  • Promote volunteer activites
  • Provide environmental & cultural educational opportunities

With your help we can assist with the recreational, educational & environmental programs of the Shawnee National Forest. Walk with us as we work together to promote these activities in southern Illinois.

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Executive Director Search

Want to make a difference in the environment, community or boost your career or retirement? Friends of the Shawnee National Forest is looking for a part-time Volunteer Executive Director to help lead the not-for-profit organization to build fiscal capacity, a volunteer base, expand environmental education outreach, support environmental programs, and responsible outdoor recreation throughout Southern Illinois.  Duties include: merchandise sales, membership expansion and grant-writing; building and expanding a volunteer base; coordinating monthly meetings; and networking, collaboration and communication.  A bachelor’s degree is recommended in natural resources, outdoor recreation, environmental education, business, law, marketing, or communication with interest in leadership and business development. The position requires 20 hours/week including some weekends, and personal transportation as regional travel is required.   Please send your cover letter and resume or any questions to: FSNF, PO Box 350, Carterville, IL 62918, or friendsoftheshawnee@gmail.com. The deadline for cover letter/resume is postmarked on March 31, 2014.  All applicants will receive a response from the organization, and we thank you in advance for your interest!

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Pine Hills Appreciation Day

Spring is here! (so where are the snakes?)

The USFS in the Shawnee National Forest will be hosting the LaRue Pine Hills Appreciation Day on April 12, 2014.

Activities will begin with registration at 9:30 a the Winter’s Pond followed by:

10 am Reptile and Amphibian Talk with Scott Ballard of the IDNR and a walk along LaRue Road or “Snake Road” for and informational talk about species, habits and migration education.

10 am Native Plants and Natural History of LaRue Pine Hills with Karla Gage of the River to River Co-op Weed Management and Andy West with a hike on Inspiration Point Trail for information on ecology and invasive species.

Please come prepared with weather appropriate clothing, hiking shoes, water and a sack lunch!

For more information on this program, which is free and open to the public, please contact the USFS Shawnee National Forest at (618) 253-7114 or http://fs.usda.gov/shawnee

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50th Wilderness Act Anniversary

It’s the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act throughout 2014!

In celebration, the wilderness areas in southern Illinois are being showcased throughout the year with numerous activities and educational programs.  We want to bring these opportunities to you!

Some contributing  organizations and activities include:

Take time to experience these unique locations and the history securing such sites.  Learn more at these activities and bring a friend!


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Strategic Vision 2014

In January of 2014, the Friends found empowerment and collaboration through the endeavor of the organization’s first Strategic Vision retreat.  Stakeholders and partners met for a discussion of progress, intent and goal development resulting in clearly defined pathways for opportunities in volunteerism, improved communications, direction and building collaborations.

Led by Dr. Richard Collins, the participants in the process identified achievements and possibilities as well as team building opportunities.  The SWOT analysis created a framework for our organizational goals, and as a result, the committees, champions and accountability for achieving those goals.

Thank you all who participated including:  United States Forest Service, University of Illinois Extension Offices, Friends of the Shawnee National Forest, Friends of the Shawnee National Forest Board of Directors, Brehm Preparatory School, AmeriCorps VISTA, Touch of Nature Environmental Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale Recreation Center, Arnie’s Sandwiches, and Dr. Richard Collins.

Strategic Vision 2014 (4) Strategic Vision 2014 (2)

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Fun in the Sun at Pounds Hollow

The Friends and the Shawnee USFS AmeriCorps VISTAs teamed up to sponsor an afternoon of recreation and education to local students in September.

Pounds Hollow Recreation area provided land and water locations for activities such as swimming, fishing, water quality testing, a scavenger hunt, fishing, hiking and arts/crafts.  The students enjoyed an outdoor lunch provided by school staff, and sunshine provided by the beautiful Southern Illinois weather.

We thank the students and staff who participated in the event from Brehm Preparatory School in Carbondale, Illinois.  We also would like to thank the VISTAs: Paige, Danielle, Kim, Jon, Laura and Susi.

Thank you Shawnee National Forest for all of the beautiful and useful sites and amenities!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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