Why Did The Turtle Cross The Road?

Jun 21, 2020

Here's a joke: Why did the turtle cross the road?

Answer: To find food, water, a mate and a nesting location.

Of course, that's not really a joke. Turtles all across Illinois are making their way across the state's 140,000 miles of roadways. Some are looking for food and water, but it's also breeding season. That means turtles are looking for mates and trying to find places to lay their eggs.

Mike Baltz Commentary: The Legacy of John Muir

Mar 9, 2020
WSIU Kevin Boucher

An original commentary, written and voiced by Ornithologist Dr. Mike Baltz.

Mike Baltz: Looking Back and Forward at Earth Day

Jan 13, 2020
WSIU Kevin Boucher

Ornithologist Dr. Mike Baltz begins 2020 with the first in another series of original nature commentaries.

WSIU Kevin Boucher

The University of Illinois Extension service is offering training to become a certified Master Naturalist.  The 12 week program runs Thursday, January 23rd 2020 through April 9th, 2020.


Scientists are conducting more and more studies on how nature affects the brain and how it can improve some health issues. WSIU's Brad Palmer has this report.

Wildlife Illinois Dot Org

The unique-to-Illinois-looking Nine Banded Armadillo is moving through Illinois.  The animal is related to sloths and anteaters.

The Value of Swamps: The Comments of Dr. Mike Baltz.

Jun 28, 2019
WSIU/Kevin Boucher

Ornithologist Dr. Mike Baltz talks about how important swamps are in the ecosystem.

Touch Of Nature Benefits From SIU Credit Union.

Jun 13, 2019
WSIU/Kevin Boucher

SIU-C’s Touch of Nature received a generous donation today (Thursday) from the S-I-U Credit Union.  An oversized 10-thousand dollar check was presented to Touch of Nature’s Executive Director J-D Tanner, who said it is very rewarding to be recognized.  Kim Babbington, is the Vice President of Community Outreach for the SIU Credit Union, and with misty eyes, said the Credit Union feels that the work of Touch of Nature is very important.

The funds are earmarked for the Dawg Days program.  A special bonding program held each August at Touch of Nature, for incoming SIU Freshmen.

This year’s Dawg Days program is scheduled for August 11th through August 14th.


The  original comments of Ornithologist  Dr. Mike Baltz.  This segment features the Coyote.  A predator which has an amazing ability to adapt to a changing environment.

Stock image from U of I Extension Service.

University of Illinois Extension Service Horticulture Educator Austin Little visits with WSIU's Kevin Boucher on what to do now in our yards and gardens.

Celebrating Earth Day With Music

Apr 22, 2019
Courtesy Of the Facebook Page of Dr. Mike Batltz.

Ornithologist Dr. Mike Baltz has written a song after being inspired by working with young people, especially his daugher.

Puppets Take Over on April 22nd, 2019

Apr 19, 2019

On Earth Day, Monday April 22nd, 2019, the 6th Annual All Species Puppet Parade will take place in Carbondale.

LaRita Nance.

Ornithologist Dr. Mike Baltz talks about the story of the Bald Eagles.

Provided by Chris Benda.

The River To River Trail runs from the Ohio River to the Mississippi River in southern Illinois, and runs through lands owned by both the State and the Federal Government, as well as some portions which are privately owned.  (The owners have  given hikers permission to use the trail)

Green Space Now Accessible

Nov 26, 2018
WSIU/Kevin Boucher

Thanks to Green Earth, a Carbondale non-profit, along with a host of community partners, people with mobility issues can enjoy a walk in nature at Green Earth's Chautauqua Bottoms Nature Preserve.

A Small Tank With Legs In Southern Illinois?

Oct 23, 2018

As many southern Illinoisans might have noticed, unusual animals have been seen in the region for quite some time.  Some people have described them as Tanks With Legs. 

Armadillos are here in southern Illinois.

Provided By The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service.

National Audubon Society

With Labor Day weekend here, many people will be celebrating the last weekend of summer with get-togethers and cookouts.

The Public Learns About Hummingbirds.

Aug 10, 2018

The Shawnee Chapter of The Illinois Audubon Society recently held  a public workshop about hummingbirds.

2018 The Year Of The Bird: Dr. Mike Baltz

Jul 2, 2018
WSIU/Kevin Boucher

With 2018 being designated as The Year Of The Bird, Ornithologist Dr. Mike Baltz comments on the birds that make southern Illinois their summer home.

WSIU/Kevin Boucher

An ambitious project to build a Mountain Bike trail at SIU's Touch Of Nature Environmental Center is currently underway.  Isaiah Tanner recently graduated with a Master's Degree from SIU Carbondale's Outdoor Recreation Resource Administration Program,  is leading the effort.

Autumn Colors: Why Aren't They Vivid?

Oct 24, 2017
WSIU/Kevin Boucher

On this edition of WSIU INFOCUS, Kevin Boucher talks with University of Illinois Extension Forester Chris Evans about the reasons why the Autumn colors this year are not as brilliant as last year.

SIU Fisheries Working To Improve River Ecosystems.

May 22, 2017
WSIU Television

The health of the southern Illinois river ecosystems has been in the news recently with IDNR’s announcement that they are re-introducing the native Alligator Gar into several large rivers, including the lower Kaskaskia River.

Dr. Greg Whitledge, with the SIU Center for Fisheries Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences likes the idea of having the Alligator Gar back in its ancestral home.  Even though the Alligator Gar is a large, toothy predator, it will not be able to make a dent in the Asian Carp populations.

WSIU/Kevin Boucher

The U-S Forest Service's Little Grand Canyon, located in southern Jackson County, is very popular with both locals, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the state as WSIU's Kevin Boucher explains.

Acoustic Nature Hour Earth Day Special.

Apr 22, 2017
WSIU/Kevin Boucher

The Acoustic Nature Hour Earth Day Special is supported locally by First Southern Bank.

WSIU/Kevin Boucher

Every year at this time, the United States Forest Service closes Snake Road in Union county to vehicle traffic.  This is for the safety so that the many species of reptiles, including snakes,  can safely cross the gravel road from their winter dens in the rocks, to the swamps to feed. 

WSIU/Kevin Boucher

The annual Maple Syrup Festival will be held this weekend, Saturday February 25th, 2017 and Sunday February 26th, 2017 at Touch of Nature south of Carbondale.  In this report we learn the basics of harvesting maple sap to make maple syrup.

Mild February Resulting in Early Flowers

Feb 17, 2017
Chris Benda/Botanist/Illinois Native Plant Society President.

Unusually mild temperatures are causing some early spring wildflowers to come to life.  Jennifer Randolph, Natural Resources Coordinator at Giant City State Park says she has already seen Harbinger of Spring in bloom at the park.  "It's a very very tiny little white flower and it's kind of got a little pinkish tint on the inside but they are very small a lot of times you'll have to look under the leaf litter," Randolph adds.

Credit: Shawnee National Forest

Ducks Unlimited and 20 regional conservation-related partners were recently awarded a one million dollar North American Conservation Act Grant.  With an additional match from Ducks Unlimited and its partners, the total dollar amount for the three state project is $3.87 million.  The money will be used to improve wetlands, including the Oakwood Bottoms area, located beside the Big Muddy River in southern Jackson County Illinois.

Snake Road in Autumn.

Nov 10, 2016
WSIU/Kevin Boucher

The unusually mild weather that we experienced in late October and early November was great for people who enjoy spending time outdoors.  This mild weather also kept the well-known Snake Road closed to vehicle traffic after the original October 31st date.  Even though the road is now open to traffic, here is a visit with Paul Widowski, Wildlife Biologist with the Shawnee National Forest, earlier in November.