Annual Gathering

2016 Annual Gathering



LOCATION: This year’s INPS Annual Gathering will be hosted by the Southern Chapter of the Illinois Native Plant Society in beautiful Jackson County, Illinois! The event will be located at Touch of Nature Environmental Learning Center, owned and operated by Southern Illinois University. The site is located about 9 miles south of Carbondale, IL off Giant City Road.


Early registration ENDS MAY 22ND

Registration fees include Friday social, field trips, conference space, box lunch, breakfasts, and banquet.
Early Registration INPS Member: $60
Early Registration Non-Member*: $80
Late Registration INPS Member: $70
Late Registration Non-Member*: $90
Student*: $50
*includes 2016 membership

Illinois Native Plant Society Hat: $20 (one size fits all)


A variety of lodging options are available. Lodging accommodations should be made directly with Touch of Nature staff and include single queen bed hotel-style rooms, rooms with two single beds, cabin-style lodging (sleeps up to 10) and tent camping.
Link to the Touch of Nature website:
Phone number: 618-453-1121

Gathering hashtag: #INPS2016


Friday, June 3rd
4:00PM-6:00PM Optional guided hike on Touch of Nature grounds
6:00PM-8:00PM Pick up registration packets, social hour with hors’doeuvres
8:00PM-9:00PM Welcome address by INPS President Chris Benda
Saturday, June 4th
7:00AM-8:00AM Breakfast at Friends Room, Touch of Nature Environmental Center
8:00AM-8:30AM Pick up your registration packets if you didn’t Friday evening. Check in for your field trips and pick up your box lunch.
8:30AM Field trips depart
4:00PM Field trips arrive back at Touch of Nature
4:00PM-5:00PM Downtime
5:00PM-6:00PM General INPS Membership Meeting
6:00PM-6:30PM Conservation Award Ceremony
6:30PM-7:30PM Banquet
7:30PM-8:30PM Speaker  Jody Shimp, IDNR Biologist
Topic: Plant Conservation Action in Illinois
8:30PM Relax around the campfire
Sunday, June 5th
7:30AM-8:30AM Continental Breakfast and check in for your field trips
8:30AM All field trips depart – all trips are half day only
2:00PM Field trips conclude



Saturday Field Trips

    • 1. Cache River Buttonland Swamp Canoe Trip – [EASY]
      Trip will be led by Chris Evans (UIUC, INPS) to this truly unique area. The Cache River wetlands are recognized with international importance. Experience a guided float through ancient cypress trees in a coastal plain swamp, while learning about the natural history of the landscape. See the grand champion cypress tree and if time allows, the grand champion Tupelo tree. Trip limited to 10 people.
    • 2. Cave Creek Glade and Heron Pond [EASY]
      Trip will be led by Jody Shimp (IDNR) to see the mass bloom of pale purple coneflowers at this limestone glade in the Cache River State Natural Area. The group will also tour nearby Heron Pond, where you will be able to walk into a southern Illinois cypress swamp on a floating boardwalk. Lots of plants and animals area seen in this area and it is an easy walk to see the swamp and visit the nearby state champion cherrybark oak, definitely an impressive tree worth seeing!

  • 3. LaRue Pine Hills Research Natural Area [MODERATE]
    Trip will be led by Dr. Andy West and Rob Stroh (Koala Ecosystem Services), to one of the most diverse sites in the Shawnee National Forest and in Illinois. This amazing site is home to over 1200 species of plants and the world famous snake road. Tremendous diversity can be found in the steep, dissected, rocky hills to the east and the vast, flat, wide-open swamps to the west.
  • 4. Little Grand Canyon [CHALLENGING]
    Trip will be led by Chris Benda (INHS, INPS) to see this amazing canyon and natural area. Rare glacial relicts like Bishops Cap (Mitella diphylla) abound on the moist sandstone cliffs along with the southern Illinois specialty Forbe’s Saxifrage (Micranthes forbesii). This is a challenging hike around 4 miles with a long descent into the canyon and steep climb back up, but it is well worth the effort. In addition, there will be a brief tour of Rothrock Prairie, a nearby site with hundreds of native plant species.
  • 5. Panther Den Wilderness [MODERATE]
    Trip will be led by Abel Kinser (John A. Logan College) to see this one-of-a-kind natural area in the Crab Orchard Wilderness. Sheer sandstone walls and many species of moss and lichens are the focus of this hike. A nice trail leads down the hill to the areas where large rocks and many passageways and crevices beg the hiker to explore. Lots of rare ferns along occur here as well as the rare Frenchs Shooting Star (Dodecatheon frenchii).

Sunday Field Trips/Workshop

  • 1. Brown Barrens, Berryville Shale Glade, Atwood Ridge [CHALLENGING]
    Brown Barrens and Berryville Shale Glade are part of a series of natural areas in which shale is the exposed substrate. Visit these unique sites and nearby Atwood Ridge to see the state endangered Rock Chestnut Oak (Quercus prinus) if time allows. An INPS board member will lead the tour.
  • 2. Giant City State Park [MODERATE]
    Before you head out of town, enjoy a morning hike at this premier state park, literally just down the road from Touch of Nature. Over 820 species of vascular plants are known from a two-square mile area in this park, including many rare species. Join the park naturalist Jen Randolph for a tour of this incredibly scenic area.
  • 3. Piney Creek Ravine [MODERATE]
    For those of you headed north, this site is a must-see as you head out of town. This is a sandstone canyon in the Illinois Ozarks Natural Division. Pictographs and petroglyphs can be seen on the cliff walls and this is one of only two location of the shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata), the only native pine in southern Illinois. Illinois nature preserve ecologist Debbie Newman will lead the tour.
  • 4. Sedge Identification Workshop [EASY]
    Paul Marcum (INHS, INPS) will instruct this workshop at Touch of Nature. The first hour or so will be a classroom session, focusing on aspects of sedge structure and biology that are helpful for identification and understanding the ecology of sedges. Afterwards (mid-morning), we will go outside and look at sedges in the field. This workshop is focused toward beginners.