By: Christina Hughey
The Watershed Nature Center in Edwardsville, Illinois is home to over 40 acres of prairie, forest, and wetland habitats. The center features paved walking trails, a raised marsh walk, and a welcome center. The Watershed is dedicated to providing environmental education, passive recreation, and enjoyment of native habitats for Edwardsville and surrounding communities.
The Watershed Nature Center largest native habitat is the wetlands and two lakes fed by storm water runoff from 400 acres of downtown Edwardsville. Wetlands are the sponges and kidneys of the earth and offer great importance. Over the years there has been a huge decrease in wetlands due to residential and commercial development. This has lead to flooding, erosion along riverbanks and increased pollution runoff in river and lakes. Wetlands biggest role is filtering out dangerous pollutants and toxins before they go into the rivers, and eventually pollute the ocean. Wetlands also support a large variety of plant and animal life. Watershed has an abundance of aquatic life that live in their wetlands ranging from the diving beetle to the blue heroin. In Illinois, many of the vertebrates and plants that are endangered are wetland dependent. The Watershed Nature Center offers refuge for wintering waterfowl and birds as they migrate along the Mississippi Flyway. It also serves as a nursery for birds, amphibians and reptiles and animals to raise their young.
The Watershed Nature Center conducts free and paid programming for children and adults, school field trips, and stewardship opportunities for scouts of all ages. The Watershed is a living, learning laboratory for students from 1st– 12th grade and college, graduate and postgraduate studies. Partnerships with SIUE and Lewis and Clark College engage undergraduate and graduate students to utilize the Watershed for their research projects, internships and place based learning for all subjects.
Watershed Nature Center is going to expand even more, with the help of the City of Edwardsville and the Recreation and Parks Department. This major park improvement project will allow for greater access and exposure to the native habitats in the preserve. They are calling this project Access Nature. This will happen by modifying the entrance to allow for greater access and understanding of the native habitats in the park. Watershed Nature Center will add a large Education Meadow at the entrance, a Shoreline Classroom with amphitheater style seating, an ADA accessible path so everyone can reach the water’s edge, and even more. It will be exciting to see the changes to come.
We believe Watershed Nature Center is a remarkable place. It makes the people who visit stewards of the environment while positively interacting and engaging in nature. This place is truly worthwhile. For Watershed to continue their access nature plan, they will need support. There are many ways to show support to Watershed, whether it be as simple as planning a trip or as generous as becoming a sponsor. Here are all the ways to help watershed grow:
- Plan a fun and educational field trip! With tons of options geared towards each individual grade, the children are sure to have a blast and the parents and teachers too.
- Become a member and enjoy all the perks that come along with it!
- Visit Watershed Nature Center!
- Bring your scouting troop to Watershed Nature Center, there are plenty of activities for your troop to do.
- Become a sponsor, there are many different levels of sponsorship available.
To support Watershed or to plan a visit, go to watershednaturecenter.org or contact Watershed directly at: email@example.com (618)692-7578
“Help us improve our community’s park to maximize educational opportunities while beautifying and strengthening the ecosystems at the Watershed Nature Center.”