Hidden away in Southern Illinois is one of Nature's masterpieces.
Research, observations, reporting and recording all help contribute to the fascination of the Cache River Watershed. Through science and understanding, we hope to shape our projects and encourage your interests. Click on the links below for more information about each topic and stay tuned for more resources, fun facts, and ways to be a citizen scientist.
Become a citizen scientist by contributing your photographs of Cache flora and fauna to iNaturalist! This project seeks to document and focus attention on the biodiversity of the Cache River Watershed. You don’t have to be an expert to participate. If you can’t identify the organism in your photo, just say something like "plant," or "mushroom, I think," and click "ID please." It might take a little while; but, someone will respond with an identification. Posting pictures is easy: you can share them from your Facebook page or download the iNaturalist app, which allows you to post photos instantly from your smartphone. Don’t just take cool nature shots – share them and your photographs can serve a very real, scientific purpose!
Take your best shot, and maybe the next great discovery will be yours!
Swamp Rabbits - The largest of the cottontails, swamp rabbits are a fascinating semi-aquatic species that prefers bottomland hardwood forests. Liz Hillard, Researcher at SIU-Carbondale has been studying these "swampers" to model resource selection functions and survival probability in a mosaic of mature, afforested, and regenerating bottom land hardwood forest stands within the Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge. Click on the link to read the full interview and learn more about these big bunnies in the bottomland!
Prairie Glade Restoration - Prairie glades are rare communities that can be found here in the Cache River Watershed. Learn more about these unique places, their history here in the Cache, and where to find them.
Warblers and Restoration - Hoover and Schelsky have been studying Prothonotary Warblers in the Cache for many years, ranging in topics from the effects of reforestation efforts to parasitism by the Brown-headed Cowbirds. Among Hoover's many studies worthy of acclaim, one in particular has garnered recent attention as being the first to document the mafia-like behavior of the female Brown-headed Cowbird. Follow the link above for more information about Schelsky and Hoover's fascinating research happening here in the Cache!
Canebrake Restoration - Expanses of giant cane, called canebrakes, once dotted the landscape here in southern Illinois. Today, they only exist in small patches, where the bamboo giant looms over curious visitors. Visit this page to learn more about canebrakes, where you can still find them today, and the research concerning this facinating plant.