Shawnee National Forest Partners with SIU Museum for 80th Anniversary Celebration

Contact(s): Mary McCorvie

CARBONDALE, IL January 10, 2020 – In celebration of the Forest’s 80th Anniversary the Shawnee National Forest and SIU Museum will host a special photo exhibit at the Museum in Carbondale Illinois. The exhibit features historic photos taken in the 1930s and 1940s during the popular Ozark Tours within the Shawnee National Forest. The photo exhibition will run from January 17 through February 21 and admission is free.

The Ozark Tours Began in 1931 when L. O. Trigg invited many elected officials and other local dignitaries on a three-day tour of southern Illinois. The tours were organized to raise awareness of all the special historical places and natural areas in what has since become the Shawnee National Forest. 

On the exhibition’s opening night, January 17, at 5:30 p.m. the Shawnee National Forest and SIU Museum will host 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. A fictional newspaper man explains how 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 – 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.

In addition to the photo exhibit, there are several presentations scheduled throughout the five-week exhibition, surrounding a variety of topics highlighting southern Illinois’ cultural and natural resources. See the list of scheduled speakers below for specific dates and topics. All presentations will be at the SIU Museum starting at 5:30 p.m.


January 17 – Opening night: The kick-off the historic photo exhibit includes a reception with refreshments, historical film on the Shawnee National Forest (NF), and two guest speakers.

January 22 - SIU archaeologist Dr. Tamira Brennan-Blodgett 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.

January 29 - Forest Service Archaeologist Heather Carey will speak on the Rock Art of southern Illinois.

January 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.

February 3 - Hiking with Shawn (Gossman) will share details about interesting hikes in and around the Shawnee NF.

February 5 - Chris Evans, the University of Illinois Extension Forester will discuss southern Illinois forests’, pre-glaciation through post-European settlement.

February 6 - Dr. Mark Wagner and Forest Service Archaeologist, Mary McCorvie will talk about the Cherokee Trail of Tears in southern Illinois.

February 10 - Joe Devera of the Illinois Geologic Survey will talk about Prehistoric southern Illinois.

February 11 - Forest Service Wildlife Biologist Mark Vukovich will discuss Bats of southern Illinois.

February 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.

February 13 - Local historian Kay Ripplemeyer will share her research into the Civilian Conservation Corps in southern Illinois. 

February 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.

February 19 - Gillum Ferguson with the Saline County Historical Society will reprise his talk on Indian Tribes of southern Illinois (It’s not who you think!).




The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 30 percent of the nation’s surface drinking water to cities and rural communities and approximately 66 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System.  The agency also has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 900 million forested acres within the U.S., of which over 130 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.)




“USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.”