Visitors Guide to the
Watershed Nature Center
1591 Tower Road
Edwardsville, IL
618- 692-7578

Accessible Parking Accessible Picnic Facilities Accessible Interpretive Exhibits Accessible Hiking Trails Accessible Scenic Views Accessible Wildlife Viewing Accessible Area Information Available Accessible Gift Shop Accessible Restrooms

The Watershed Nature Center is a unique 46-acre park, owned by the City of Edwardsville, managed by the Nature Preserve Foundation, Inc., and supported by a local community of volunteers and sponsors. The Center offers its visitors a green space where they can relax and reconnect with nature. A one-mile trail borders the perimeter of the park with 2 observation towers, a wildlife viewing blind and provides a peaceful area to walk and enjoy its three native southwestern Illinois habitats: prairie, upland and lowland forests, and wetlands.

The Watershed Nature Center was founded in 1991 when local community members John and Kay Kendall proposed turning an abandoned sewage lagoon into a nature center. The lagoon operated between 1965 and 1986. Complaints due to flooding, odors, and unwanted insects caused the city to close the lagoon. The City of Edwardsville endorsed the plan to transform the lagoon into a city park. From the beginning, the Edwardsville community as a whole was instrumental in the creation of the Watershed Nature Center. The Operating Engineers Local 520 agreed to use the site as their training ground, and excavated the two lakes and wetland areas at no cost. Afterwards area families, local businesses, and community groups supported the transformation with donations of their time, tools, and monetary contributions. A grant from the Illinois Department of Conservation was obtained for restoration of the wetland habitats and construction of the Welcome Center. In 1995 the Welcome Center was completed and the Watershed Nature Center welcomed its first visitors.

Bird Watching
The Watershed Nature Center is an excellent place for bird watching. 150 species of birds have been reported to have been seen at the site. The spring migration brings a variety of warblers while the fall migration brings a variety of waterfowl and shore birds. Raptors and woodpeckers are year round residents. Itís possible to spot the Eurasian Tree Sparrow during the spring and fall. A check list can be picked up at the Welcome Center.

The Welcome Center provides interpretive exhibits and carries out the Watershed Nature Centerís environmentally focused education programs. Part of the walking trail is paved and is handicapped accessible. The trail connects to the Watershed Trail, one of Madison County Trail systemís many bike trails.

Visiting the Watershed Nature Center
The grounds of the Watershed Nature Center are open daily from dawn to dusk.
     Welcome Center Hours:
          Tuesdays and Thursdays: Noon - 4 pm
          Saturdays: 10 am - 2 pm
          or by appointment
There is no charge to visit the Watershed Nature Center.
A note about restrooms. Restrooms are located in the Welcome Center and are available for public use during Welcome Center hours. Additional restrooms are located in nearby Hoppe Park.

Directions: From New Poag Road (IL-157): New Poag Road passes the northern border of the SIUE campus. As you enter Edwardsville New Poag Road turns into St. Louis Street by the cemetery. Turn left (north) onto either Rose Avenue, Amman Place, or Allen Avenue and go two blocks to Grand Avenue. Take a right (east) onto Grand Avenue and go to Terry Street. Take a left (north) onto Terry Street and go to the Watershed Nature Center which is located behind the parking lot in on the west side of Hoppe Park. From the downtown district of Edwardsville and the intersection of St. Louis and Main Streets: Take Main Street to M Street. Take a left (west) on M Street and go to Schiller Avenue. Take a left (south) on Schiller Avenue which will turn into Terry Street and go to the Watershed Nature Center which is located behind the parking lot in on the west side of Hoppe Park.

GPS Coordinates
N  38  49.015
W 89  58.497

Learn more about the Edwardsville area. - official site of the Watershed Nature Center 

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