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Volunteers Needed for Trail of Tears Volunteer Work Day

Friday, July 3, 2009

Contact:  Vickie Devenport, WSIU Outreach Coordinator, (618) 453-6148,

Carbondale, Ill. - WSIU Public Television, a public media arm of Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), invites the general public to participate in the first Trail of Tears Volunteer Work Day on Saturday, July 11 from 8am to 3pm on the Crabb/Abbott Farm in Pope County. Participants will help restore a segment of the original trail bed of the Trail of Tears and enjoy hands-on experiences learning about our region’s history and Native American heritage.

Sponsored by WSIU, the Shawnee National Forest, and the Illinois Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association, the work day is one of several local activities planned to highlight the fall premiere of the new Ken Burns documentary series, The National Parks: America's Best Idea. WSIU's local initiative, Touch the Trail, focuses on our region's connection to the National Park Service, the National Trails System, and the National Historic Trail of Tears.

In 2008, the National Park Service officially designated the Crabb/Abbott farm as a certified site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. It is one of two certified sites in Illinois; the other site is the Campground Cumberland Presbyterian Church Cemetery in eastern Johnson County.

Shawnee Forest Volunteer Coordinators Jennifer Sublett of the Mississippi Bluffs District and Justin Dodson of the Hidden Springs District will coordinate the volunteer crews and provide guidance throughout the day.

Transportation is available, but limited. Anyone interested in participating must pre-register by Thursday, July 9 by calling the Volunteer Hotline at (618) 687-1731, extension 125. Volunteers must be at least 12 years old to participate and an adult must accompany all children. Volunteers also should plan to bring a sack lunch; drinks will be provided.

About The National Parks Film
The National Parks: America's Best Idea is a 12-hour, six-part documentary series directed by Ken Burns and co-produced by Dayton Duncan. Using archival photographs, first-person accounts of historical characters, and personal memories, the film traces the birth of the national park idea in the mid-1800s and follows its evolution for nearly 150 years. The series will air on WSIU TV 8/WUSI TV 16 from September 27-October 2.

About WSIU Public Broadcasting
WSIU Public Broadcasting is licensed to the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University and is an integral part of the College of Mass Communications and Media Arts on the Carbondale campus. It operates eight digital television stations, three public radio stations, a website, local TV and FM production units, and an education and community outreach department. WSIU’s mission is to improve the quality of life of the people they serve. Through programs, services and outreach, WSIU partners with other community organizations to promote positive change and to support the academic and public service missions of Southern Illinois university Carbondale. Visit for more information.

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