The IRWP Watershed Sanctuary in Cave Springs is open and ready for visitors!  With the completion of the new Pavilion, an even better experience awaits for educational and recreational activities on the property for visitors, school groups, team building experiences and educational workshops/events.

PAvilion_Bats BluegrasBats & Bluegrass Event at the Watershed Sanctuary, Cave Springs (Aug. 22, 2015)

Over 700 people came to participate in the day’s activities and an evening of Bluegrass and Bat Viewing!

Visitors can launch a kayak or canoe to help find a new fishing hole or go for a leisurely paddle back toward the cave spring. The 6-acre Partner’s Lake has been stocked by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission with about 1500 catfish since last fall and is also teeming with hungry bass and sunfish.    Nature enthusiasts will be astounded with over 180 plant species to observe and great birding and wildlife viewing opportunities.  Artists will also find inspiration in the beauty around the Watershed Sanctuary, so there is surely something for everyone!

Canoes on lake

Visitors try out their paddling skills around the Sanctuary’s 6-acre lake. 

The Watershed Sanctuary is a living classroom that students of all ages can visit to observe and learn more about our natural environment.  IRWP hosts a number of field trips in the fall and spring for school groups wanting to do hands-on activities and learn about the watershed in a fun and memorable way.  From endangered species to green infrastructure to native plants and wildlife, there are many opportunities to align with classroom curricula to give students a unique experience.

Field trip by cave

Field trips include a short walk back to the Cave Springs natural cave area.

Approximately 2-6 million gallons of groundwater pour from the cave each day!

The Watershed Sanctuary is open to visitors 7 days per week, from sunrise to sunset.  Visitors can stop by the Watershed Learning Center at 221 S. Main Street in Cave Springs to learn more about the IRWP and Watershed Sanctuary.  The Learning Center is open Monday-Friday from 9 AM t 4 PM, and Saturdays from 9 AM – 2 PM thanks to support from volunteers with the Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists.  Contact Chas McCoy, Education Outreach Coordinator, to schedule a field trip or event at 479-256-9278 or Chas@irwp.org. Check out our website, www.irwp.org to participate in one of our many events, workshops and happenings here at the Illinois River Watershed Sanctuary and Learning Center.