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Special Weekend Trip! Touch of Nature Trails, IL – Volunteer Vacation 2024

April 11 @ 5:00 pm - April 14 @ 12:00 pm

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Nestled amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois, join this project to support trail accessibility at Touch of Nature Environmental Center!

Touch of Nature Environmental Center hosts experiential education programs that utilize the many natural resources on and around its 3,400 acres located in beautiful Southern Illinois. These programs offer opportunities for all people and focus on traditional outdoor activities, environmental education, and adventure pursuits. 

Volunteers will work together to establish a half mile connecting trail between two pre-existing trails. The new connecting trail will allow continual public access to the trails while summer camps are in session. By creating this new connection, hikers will be able to use trails that previously would have been closed due to programming in progress. Volunteers will hike to the project site from their cabin. The hike to the project site is about a half mile on sidewalks, with about 100 feet of hiking through uneven terrain.

During this trip, Touch of Nature’s average high temperature is 68°, and average low temperature is 44°.

There is no experience needed to join a Volunteer Vacation! Your expert hosts will provide detailed instruction, tool demonstrations, and project oversight throughout the week. All you need is a willing attitude and to be in good physical condition to participate in moderate physical activity for approximately 6-8 hours a day with plenty of breaks, at your own pace. Find out more about what it’s like to join a Volunteer Vacation and other frequently asked questions here.

AHS acknowledges with gratitude that this project takes place on the traditional lands of the Osage, Quapaw, Myaamia, Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Kaskaskia, and Kickapoo peoples past and present. We honor the land itself, the Indigenous communities who have stewarded this land for generations, their deep and sacred connection to these lands, and those who continue to steward these lands today. We offer this land acknowledgement as the first of many steps to stand as an ally and amplify Indigenous voices. We invite the American Hiking Society community to join us through continued efforts to support Indigenous communities and learn more about the history of the lands on which we live, work and recreate.

Click here for a PDF of trip details.


Touch of Nature Environmental Center




The daily hike is about a half mile on sidewalks, with about 100 feet of hiking through uneven terrain. Volunteers will need to carry their personal gear only.

Project Rating


Minimum Volunteer Age


Maximum Group Size


Area and Attractions

Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center lies on 3200 acres of privately owned property, and is adjacent to Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge, Giant City State Park, and the Shawnee National Forest. There are ample opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and paddling all within a 10 minute drive. Giant City Lodge, a CCC built restaurant and lodge located 5 minutes from Touch of Nature, offers a phenomenal fried chicken dinner. Downtown Carbondale is a 15 minute drive from Touch of Nature, and offers a wide variety of restaurants as well as a college campus.

Accommodations Description

Volunteers will stay in dorm style cabins, with 2 twin beds in each room and a shared shower house adjacent to the lodging. Access to laundry, wifi, a fireplace, and grill are available. Volunteers need to bring their own personal gear, linens, toiletries and towels.


St Louis International Airport, St Louis, Missouri is the closest major airport. Airport pick up and drop off is not available for volunteers, however carpooling and rideshare can be arranged upon confirmation of the trip. St. Louis International Airport is 2 hours and 20 minutes from Touch of Nature Environmental Center.


Shawnee National Forest, Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center
1206 Touch of Nature Road, Makanda, IL 62958 United States + Google Map