National Forest Week!

To celebrate National Forest Week, here are a few stories from some of our Members about one forest in particular, Shawnee National Forest in Illinois.


My favorite place I served in June was Shawnee National Forest. I was very excited when I learned that I would soon be off for a 10-day project in a National Forest that I hold close to my heart. Shawnee NF was the very first place I ever went camping and I have been back handfuls of times since. I am thrilled that I got to work in and contribute to a place I have been enjoying for years. The time spent on this project in general helped me to grow as a person, a Member, and leader more than most other projects I have been on during my time with ACSTL.

Claire Schneider

Claire cooking dinner for her team over the campfire during their ten day project in Shawnee’s Lush Creek Wilderness Area. Photo by Brigid Mulroe.

Claire cooking dinner for her team over the campfire during their ten day project in Shawnee’s Lush Creek Wilderness Area. Photo by Brigid Mulroe.

Garden of the Gods in Shawnee. Photo by Terragan Brouk.

Garden of the Gods in Shawnee. Photo by Terragan Brouk.


Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I lacked a real understanding of spring. Around my parent's home in the forest, the trees were always green and the undergrowth thick with moss. The springtime I have encountered in the Midwest is a technicolor green, bright as an old film photo. Walking in the Shawnee Forest, I felt like a kid again, discovering a whole new understanding of the world around me. I was truly in awe of Shawnee's wilderness areas and was captivated by a new understanding of spring and its relation to the Midwest. For the first time, I understood spring to be a "deep thawing" of winter and the creation of a new environment.

Luke Loranger

Nicki Oppenheim, Will Calver-Jones, Luke Loranger, Nick Oberfrank, and Andy Clubb in Shawnee. Photo by Andy Clubb.

Nicki Oppenheim, Will Calver-Jones, Luke Loranger, Nick Oberfrank, and Andy Clubb in Shawnee. Photo by Andy Clubb.