Because southern Illinois is so resource rich, there a wide variety of federal, state and nongovernmental groups with interests here. Often, these groups may be available to help private landowners as well. Currently, groups partnering with Let the Sun Shine In include:

  • United States Forest Service
    • Mission: To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.
  • United States Fish and Wildlife Service
    • Mission: We work with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
  • United States Natural Resources Conservation Service
    • Mission: We deliver conservation solutions so agricultural producers can protect natural resources and feed a growing world.
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources
    • Mission: To manage, conserve and protect Illinois’ natural, recreational and cultural resources, further the public’s understanding and  appreciation of those resources, and promote the education, science and public safety of Illinois’ natural resources for present and future generations
  • Illinois Natural History Survey
    • Mission: To investigate the diversity, life histories, and ecology of the plants and animals of the state; to publish research results so that those resources can be managed wisely; and to provide information to the public in order to foster an understanding and appreciation of our natural heritage.
  • The Nature Conservancy
    • Mission:  Conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends.
  • Wild Turkey Federation
    • Mission: The NWTF is dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage.
  • Southern Illinois University – Carbondale
    • Mission: SIU embraces a unique tradition of access and opportunity, inclusive excellence, innovation in research and creativity, and outstanding teaching focused on nurturing student success.  As a nationally ranked public research university and regional economic catalyst, we create and exchange knowledge to shape future leaders, improve our communities, and transform lives.
  • University of Illinois Extension
    • Mission: To provide practical education you can trust to help people, businesses, and communities solve problems, develop skills, and build a better future.
  • Shawnee Resource Conservation and Development Council
    • Mission: To provide leadership and organization to varied grassroots organizations who need help executing vital conservation work, while providing a trustworthy avenue for federal and state partners to accomplish big picture goals in Southernmost Illinois through an experienced grant partner.
  • Illinois Forestry Association
    • Mission: To act on issues that impact rural and community forests and to promote forestry throughout Illinois.
  • Southern Illinois Prescribed Burn Association
    • Mission: To overcome the barriers preventing landowners from using prescribed fire, including liability concerns, lack of training and equipment, limited resources and the absence of a crew.
  • American Bird Conservancy – Central Hardwoods Joint Venture
    • Mission: To achieve conservation results for birds of the Americas
  • River-to-River Cooperative Weed Management Area
    • Mission: To cooperatively address the short and long-term effects of non-native invasive plants across jurisdictional boundaries within the 11 southern counties of Illinois.

A Vision for the Future

Oak-dominated forests cover hundreds of thousands of acres in; Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky, making-up an area known as the ‘central hardwoods’. These oak forests support many other species directly or indirectly – from deer and turkeys, to migrating songbirds, to wildflowers and pollinators. As such, a loss of oaks would be bad news for the species that depend on them.

The Let the Sun Shine In program is making great conservation strides in Illinois and is poised to do big things. As these successes continue to mount, we look forward to exporting this cutting-edge approach to neighboring states with oak forests and similar problems. And that could add up to letting a lot of sun shine into oak forests and making a BIG Difference!!


Maintaining healthy oak forests in southern Illinois involves using a variety of management techniques. WE USE SOPHISTICATED, PROVEN METHODS TO PROTECT AND CONSERVE OUR FORESTS. LEARN MORE ABOUT THEM HERE.

Join us to preserve the forests of Southern Illinois!


Our Partners