Reaching Stellar Campaign Priorities – Facilities & Technology

UIS Field Station at Lake Springfield
Special reception at the UIS Field Station at Lake Springfield

New UIS Facility on Lake Springfield

“UIS is on the lake!” said Chancellor Koch at a recent U of I Board of Trustees meeting.

She was speaking about a new facility at UIS, the Field Station on Lake Springfield. This resource includes a 3,000-square-foot building, more than 400 feet of lakeshore and a dock system – all just a few minutes from campus. See photographs and renderings here.

Facilities & Technology – Building tomorrow’s University today – is a priority of the UIS Reaching Stellar Campaign.

Classes at the Field Station

The building has large windows with a beautiful view of the lake outside. Already, even before its official opening, students have met at the Field Station for classes in Art, Environmental Studies, CAP Honors, and Biology. We can expect more classes in the fall once renovations are complete, with plans underway for biology, environmental studies, history, and art.

“Students are very excited,” said Dr. Tom Rothfus, Director of the Field Station. “It’s so close to campus—they can walk here in 20 minutes.”

Recreation Opportunities

Recreation opportunities include kayaking, canoeing and fishing. “Rec was also talking about yoga classes early in the morning with a chance to salute the sun,” Tom said.

Special Events

The facility will also be a beautiful venue for special receptions, donor events and other small-group gatherings. Be sure to take a look at the renderings here.

Your gifts to the Field Station at Lake Springfield will these support renovations, which include, among others, turning the kitchen into a laboratory, removing a large circular bar from the main multipurpose room and enlarging the outside patio.

Research at the Field Station at Lake Springfield

Your gifts could also be used to support student research at the Field Station, done in collaboration with UIS professors or Tom Rothfus. Tom shared some of his ideas for research suited to the Field Station at Lake Springfield:

  • Using camera traps to collect biological community data of larger animals: When an animal walks by these camera traps, they trigger the camera, which takes three photographs. Tom said, “I’d like to get this project all around the lake. Homeowners would adopt a camera, change the batteries and swap out the memory cards. This would be a great way to create Citizen Scientists. The homeowners could even do first-pass curating.”
  • A bathymetric map of the lake: This is an underwater topographic map. Tom has also spoken with people from City, Water, Light, and Power (CWLP) who want the map. “This would require some investment on our part,” Tom said.
  • Water analysis: At Emiquon, chemistry professor Dr. Steven Johnson is analyzing Thompson Lake for herbicide, pesticide and pharmaceutical residues in the water. The same analyses could be done in Lake Springfield. “Pharmaceuticals are a big topic right now,” Tom said. “The Illinois River has bass with both male and female reproductive organs because of all the estrogens in the water.”
  • Plastic pollution: Dr. Anne-Marie Hanson has been looking at plastic pollution, including the presence of micro-plastics in drinking water. According to Tom, “Plastics in the ocean have received a lot of attention, but comparatively little work has been done looking at freshwater systems.”
  • Charting fish populations: Student could do this survey, gathering data on catch size, catch number, frequency, and so forth.
  • A BioBlitz: This is a 24-hour cataloguing of diversity using camera traps, bug traps, mist nets for birds, fishing to see how much diversity exists around the field station.
  • Rain demonstrations: We could set up demonstration plots here to show how much water is absorbed in each—furry plants versus grass versus concrete vis rip rap (materials like rock that guard the shoreline from erosion). This could show homeowners around the lake how to improve their plantings and perhaps even convince them to go a little easy on fertilizers which affects drinking water.

All gifts count toward the Reaching Stellar Campaign. Please let us know if you have questions about supporting the Field Station on Lake Springfield by calling 217-206-6058 or emailing us at