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InFocus: Coalition of nature stakeholders send letter to Senators Duckworth and Durbin asking for three new wilderness areas to be designated in the Shawnee National Forest.

Managed forest and one that is not graphic
WSIU Kevin Boucher
Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center
An example showing the difference between a managed forest and one that is not; allowing weedy invasives to smother out desirable Oaks and other species. Photograph taken June 14, 2022 at Touch of Nature. This area is not being considered for so-called Wilderness designation.

On this edition of InFocus, we hear from nature and forestry experts on a push to have Congress designate three areas in the Shawnee National Forest as "Wilderness Areas".

Sites with this official designation receive the highest level of protection.

This classification, however, can make it difficult for managers and foresters to go in and efficiently manage the area to maintain a healthy balance. The experts featured here say that, with proper and safe management, a Wilderness area can be both a pristine area desirable for Eco-Tourism, while, at the same time, can also be a healthy forest for years to come.

Many thanks to: Chris Benda, Botanist who works at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Tyler Barron, member of the Policy Team at the Environmental Law and Policy Center
Dr. Charles Ruffner, Professor of Forestry at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Tharran Hobson, Southern Illinois Program Director for the Nature Conservancy in Illinois

Born in Newport, Rhode Island to a military family, Kevin Boucher traveled the country and the world at a young age before his family settled in Murphysboro, Illinois in 1976. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Radio-Television at Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale and worked in commercial radio before becoming the Traffic Manager at WSIU Public Television. Boucher has since earned a Master's degree in Professional Media & Media Management Studies from SIU's College of Mass Communication & Media Arts. He is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys gardening and exploring the flora and fauna of the Shawnee National Forest and other beautiful natural areas across southern Illinois. Kevin is embarking on a new path with WSIU as the Community Engagement Producer for WSIU Radio. Look for Kevin's work on air and on line.
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