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Cache River Nature Fest

Did you know that the Cache River basin is home to 91% of the state's high-quality swamp and wetland communities?

Or that it shelters over 100 threatened and endangered species?

Or that it contains some of the most diverse habitats in the United States and has been designated a  "Wetland of International Importance"?

WSIU InFocus travels to Cypress, Illinois to capture the spirit of the Cache River Nature Fest, an annual event that showcases the beauty and diversity of the Cache River Wetlands. We also try to raise awareness about the importance of preserving this ecological gem for future generations.

From 1,000-year-old cypress trees to waterfowl and other migratory birds, from bottomland forests to bobcats, bald eagles, and river otters, the Cache River Wetlands offer scenic beauty, adventure, and educational opportunities to outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.

In this half-hour special, we learn about the Cache River Wetlands Joint Venture Partnership, talk with stakeholders and others with long-standing connections to the region, and travel by canoe deep into the Cache River basin to explore the unique flora and fauna found in locations such as Eagle Pond and Heron Pond.

Along the way, we talk with people who are passionate about protecting this extraordinary natural resource, including Jim Waycuilis, site superintendent of the Cache River State Natural Area, and Jeff Hoover, an avian ecologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey who discusses his research on the Prothonotary Warbler, a migratory bird that acts as an indicator of the ecological integrity of the Cache River Wetlands.

Learn more about the Cache River Nature Fest online at www.cacherivernaturefest.org. You might also be interested in the non-profit citizens' group Friends of the Cache River Watershed, which promotes the conservation of the Cache River's natural resources.

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