Southern Illinois has always been a special place to me. My parents met while at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. As a child, my family made fairly regular trips down to the campus and surrounding communities. I have many fond memories of these trips. Southern Illinois was a happy place for my family.

The Student Center, Altgeld, and Thompson Woods were all familiar before I ever even moved down here to attend college.  My dad had worked at the SIU Farms as a college student. He loved to drive the entire perimeter to view any changes since his graduation. When I had to collect and preserve multiple species of leaves for sophomore biology, my parents drove me to Thompson Woods. It was explained to me that because of the climate in Southern Illinois, there was a great variety of species growing on campus.

Family trips were not limited to SIU. Bald Knob Cross, Blueberry Hill, Giant City State Park, The Natural Bridge at Pomona, and even a little nutrition store on the north end of Carbondale that was one of the first places we encountered frozen yogurt were favorites.

I hope to help others discover the things that make Southern Illinois special as I write this blog. For me, it is also a way to honor my parents and the sense of adventure they instilled in me as a child while I hopefully pass this on to my children.


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