Researchers from around the world have been coming to the Riverbend in recent years to study the Mississippi River, in part due to all the National Great Rivers Research & Education Center has to offer. The facility will soon offer another opportunity, as local attorney and philanthropist John Simmons is donating a 170-acre island in the Mississippi to Lewis & CLark Community College for use with the facility.
The forested land is located in the Upper Mississippi in Calhoun County, and is worth about $250,000. With the gift, LCCC President Dr. Dale Chapman says the research teams can further explore the ecosystem of the river.
Simmons has owned the island since 2003, but Chapman says he began talking to the college seriously about donating the land. The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center is a partnership of Lewis and Clark Community College, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Prairie Research Institute’s Illinois Natural History Survey.