Ecology Camp Registration open

This summer we will offer seven weeks of Ecology Camp in lovely Lincoln Memorial Garden for children from ages 4 through 15 years.  For five fun filled days young campers will explore the Garden by hiking the shady trails and learning more about our native ecosystems.  There will be time for making nature arts and crafts, fairy house building and designing your own camp tee shirt, and playing environmental games such as Predator Prey and Owls and Crows.  We’ll have leisure time for capture the flag or watching the clouds drift by and time to play with friends in the great outdoors.  The long summer days of Ecology Camp seem to go by so quickly!
Session 3-AM (8:30am-11:30am) and 3-PM (12:30-3:30) for 4, 5, and 6 year olds is half day and will run Tuesday-Friday only.  All other weeks are scheduled from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m, Monday-Friday.  Cost for the half day is $80 per child for Garden members and $100 per child for nonmembers.
Full day Sessions 1,2,4-7 cost $175 per child for Garden members and $215 per child for nonmembers.

 

Must have active FAMILY Membership to take advantage of discounted registration

 

 

 

July 30 Family Night – Cancelled

Cancelled- We had a family night scheduled for this Friday, July 30 (listed in the most recent newsletter). This event will not take place. Stay tuned for detail on our August 27th program on white-tailed deer.

Ecology Camp 2021- All Sessions Full!

All 2021 Sessions of Ecology Camp are full. 

We would like to update all of our members and past camp participants on our plans for Ecology Camp 2021. Lincoln Memorial Garden will be hosting our popular summer camp this summer, however it will look a little different than past years.

  • All sessions will be half day only
  • Each sessions will be limited to 12 participants
  • All staff and participants will be required to wear masks

See complete details Here

Registration will open March 15 (members), March 18 (Nonmembers)

Session

Date

Ages

1 morning FULL

June 7-11

5, 6

1 Afternoon

June 7-11

5, 6

2 Morning (FULL)

June 14-18

5, 6, 7

2 Afternoon (FULL)

June 14-18

5, 6, 7

3 Morning (FULL)

June 21-25

6, 7, 8

3 Afternoon (FULL)

June 21-25

6, 7, 8

4 Morning (FULL)

June 28-July 2

8, 9, 10

4 Afternoon

June 28-July 2

8, 9, 10

5 Morning

July 12-16

9, 10, 11

5 Afternoon

July 12-16

9, 10, 11

6 Morning FULL

July 18-23

11, 12, 13

6 Afternoon

July 18-23

11, 12, 13

Winter Activity Kits Available

We are offering activity kits this winter season.  These kits make great gifts for the holidays.

  • Pine cone gnome ornaments
  • Wooden Frame Bird Feeder
  • Wood Cookie ornaments
  • Nature Explorer Kit
  • Walking Stick kit
  • Butterfly Life Cycle Bracelet
  • Water Cycle Bracelet

All kits are $10 each

See complete details at our online store

Kits are designed for ages 4-12, younger children will need supervision to complete most activities.  Older children may require some supervision for certain activities.  These kits do contain small parts

Vote for People’s Choice by Nov. 10

Vote for People’s Choice Winner by Nov. 10

 

More than 400 entries were received for the 2020 Images of Lincoln Memorial Garden Photo Contest. Thank you to all who participated! A panel of professional photographers judged the entries in the Youth (age 15 and younger) and Adult (16+) in four categories: Celebrating Life in the Garden, Landscape, Wildflowers, and Living Creatures.

 

Please vote for your favorite for the People’s Choice prize from the eight winning entries below.

 

Get your vote in by Nov. 10!

Winning entries will be announced on Facebook starting Nov. 12.

Follow us: https://www.facebook.com/lincolnmemorialgarden

Why I’m a Member

“A big reason for families to join is the programming and education. It is just outstanding. The camps, the junior naturalist programs, Audra [staff environmental educator]. I wouldn’t be surprised if our daughter Lucy will be a naturalist for her career! We all love the Garden.”

 

  • Megan DeFrain with husband Chad, daughters Lucy and Pheobe

We’re asking members of Lincoln Memorial Garden (LMG) why they value their membership, whether as an individual ($40), family ($75), senior ($30) or other level. We’d love to share your story to encourage more to join. Send a message via Facebook or write to joel@LincolnMemorialGarden.org.

In addition to exclusive member benefits—including discounts and reciprocal privileges to 330+ botanical gardens across the country—membership truly makes the Garden what it is today. The Garden receives no taxpayer funding to maintain its 100 acres, the mulched trails, bridges and buildings. Memberships and donations sustain the grounds, environmental programming and special events.

Already a member? THANK YOU!

Please consider giving a very unique gift to your friends and family this year—the yearlong gift of a Lincoln Memorial Garden membership. Learn more:  http://lincolnmemorialgarden.org/membership/

 

Cawley Meadow Turns 20

by Ann Londrigan

 

It was 2008 when Lincoln Memorial Garden held the Indian Summer Festival in the Cawley Meadow for the first time. Before then, this long-running and very popular family festival was held in what’s known as the “Historic Garden.” The original 60-acre parcel was secured by civic leader Harriet Knudson in the mid-1930s as the city was creating Lake Springfield, and its blueprint was designed by celebrated “Prairie Style” landscape architect Jens Jensen in 1936. It entered the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

Taking the Festival out of the woods and across the street was a bold but necessary move.

According to Jim Mathies, retired executive director of the Garden, the six-acre “Cawley Meadow” parcel had been given to the Garden in 2000 by Joyce Cawley following the passing of her husband Fred. Eight years later, after some major cleanup and planting the landscape, it was still mostly a large open space with little shade. And it was distinctly different from the tucked-in vendor booths along the Historic Garden paths with children’s activities spread out in the woodland openings. Who remembers turtle races in Council Ring 3?

“It was controversial,” says Joyce Munie, who served as secretary of the Lincoln Memorial Garden Foundation Board, along with president and 2008 Festival Chair Carol Herndon.

“We did surveys and exit polls,” she recalls. “We asked, ‘What did you like about the Festival?’ And many said ‘We hate it over there!’”

The bottom line was that the Historic Garden needed protection. In their October 31 letter to the editor in The State Journal-Register, 2009 Festival Co-chairs Munie and longtime volunteer Chris Davis wrote:

Lincoln Memorial Garden’s foundation is a nonprofit organization charged by the Garden Clubs of Illinois to protect and maintain the garden. The garden was placed on the National Register of Historic Places because it was designed by Jens Jensen, one of the foremost landscape architects of the early 20th century. We moved the festival across the street last year because we could no longer ignore the impact that the footsteps of 4,000 people caused to the trees and other plants within it. We thank all those people who joined us again this year at the festival and all our new visitors who discovered the garden for the first time. Without your generous support we could not continue the work of the foundation.

Today, Festival-goers love the Cawley Meadow space. The trees along the edges have matured to offer more shade, and each year more benches are added for seating areas. A bandshell was created as an Eagle Scout project with funding from Sutton’s roofing and siding company. Thanks to an army of loyal and hard-working volunteers, new activities—such as “Build a Scarecrow,” the Tree Troll Trail and the beloved Fairy Woodlands—“magically” appear each year.

“It truly looks like what a festival area should look like,” says Munie, who has continued to volunteer along with Davis after their three-year stint as event co-chairs from 2009 to 2011.

So, what did it look like 20 years ago? Mathies and Garden staff, including Larry Miller, along with many volunteers, inventoried the newly acquired property. Here’s a partial list of what they found, which triggered a professional review by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

  • A large step van truck
  • Three old farm tractors, a plow, disc and harrow
  • Two 20-cubic-foot dumpsters full of metal including barbed wire, rebar and 55-gallon drums all weighing 30,240 pounds
  • 100 tires
  • 12 appliances
  • Contents of a shed filling six 20-cubic-foot dumpsters and including glass, plastic, hardware, old bikes and unlabeled containers of grease, herbicide, oil, paint and insecticide

 

According to the EPA final report, “A crew of four Garden staff took about five weeks to clean up the area. This included dragging items out of the woods with tractors, tearing down the shed and mowing fields to find items hidden by the vegetation.”

It was a herculean effort for several years.

“From an EPA perspective, there was non-point source pollution with rain and snow and the different pollutants,” says Davis, a 30-year professional with the Illinois EPA and currently manager of the Watershed Management Section. “When we worked on the project identifying all the stuff on the site, it dawned on everyone that it was less than a quarter mile to the lake and chances [were] it would deliver pollutants through the Garden to the lake.”

So, much like the Ostermeier Prairie Center, the maintenance of the Cawley property is a stewardship measure.

Says Joel Horwedel, executive director of the Lincoln Memorial Garden Foundation: “Adding Cawley Meadow to the Garden’s holdings has allowed us the opportunity to develop a dedicated area for our annual fall festival and this important additional buffer to the Historic Garden.”

 

Chris Davis (left) with Joyce Munie, longtime Garden volunteers working the front gate at the 2019 fall festival

 

 

 

 

 

Cathy Slater, president of the Lincoln Memorial Garden Foundation, and past president and festival chair Tom Wilkin, look over the pristine Cawley Meadow grounds in the early morning hours before the start of the 2019 fall festival

 

 

 

 

 

The well-established half-acre wetland in 2019, first created through the work from January 14, 2002, to January 31, 2004, by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Lincoln Memorial Garden volunteers, under the U.S. EPA’s Source Water Pollution Control Program and the Federal Clean Water Act

 

 

 

Save the date for fall festival 2021! As COVID-19 makes holding events safely nearly impossible, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our annual fall festival this year. We are offering Fall Harvest Festival at-home craft kits for sale online for $10 each including some of our favorite festival activities including Build a Scarecrow, Tree Troll, Pumpkin Painting, Fall String Art, and Fall Wood Cookie Décor. Get details and shop online here: https://bit.ly/306QjWD

Celebrating a Successful Prairie Restoration

by Kathy Andrews Wright

 

Before Mr. Shoub established his farmstead in the mid-1800s, much of Sangamon County was covered in tall-grass prairie, broken only by tracts of timber along rivers and streams and isolated prairie groves. The process of re-creating a tall-grass prairie began in 1995 when the Ostermeier family, owners of the land Mr. Shoub had originally farmed, allowed Lincoln Memorial Garden the use of 29 acres for a prairie restoration project that still blooms and flourishes 25 years later.

 

Thanks to a grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), three prairie sites—the front prairie, middle prairie and back prairie—were planted with a mixture of grasses and forbs.

 

“As staff and volunteers were working to develop the prairie plots nearly 25 years ago, some 40,000 plants were planted over the course of two summers,” explains Larry Miller, head gardener for Lincoln Memorial Garden. “Most of the grasses and forbs were placed in the middle prairie, which is the largest of the plots. Across the front prairie, between the road and historic hedgerow, a belt of forbs, or wildflowers, were planted with the intent that a strip of showy, colorful wildflowers, such as cup plant, compass plant and purple coneflower, would create visual interest for passersby.”

 

Considerable effort was expended in developing the wildflower strip, and a lot of hand weeding took place to remove invasive exotics, such as thistle. Today, little remains of that wildflower strip, evidence that nature does as it desires.

 

“At the onset, the front prairie had a nice stand of scurfy pea (Psoralidium tenuiflorum),” Miller recounts. “Today this showy, herbaceous wildflower, which reaches heights of two to three feet and produces blue-violet flowers from late spring through late summer, no longer appears in the front prairie, but it does in the middle prairie, where it was not planted.”

 

Obviously planted with a different mix of native prairie plant seeds provided by the IDNR, the back prairie—located west of the berm—developed into a high-grade sedge prairie, containing a diversity of these grasslike plants that have triangular stems and small flowers that lack the showy petals of wildflowers.

 

After 25 years, the prairie contains an assortment of grasses and wildflowers that keep the landscape colorful throughout the growing season. Today, the focus is on allowing nature to take its course on species composition and instead minimizing the presence of invasive, exotic plants, such as giant ragweed, hemlock, thistle and sericia lespedza.

 

“To maintain a nice diversity of the colorful forbs, we burn the prairie in the fall or later summer, as research has shown that early spring burns promote the growth of grasses over forbs,” Miller explains. “Controlling sericia lespedeza is our primary concern now and entails spot chemical spraying, prescribed burns and mowing the prairie in mid-August to prevent the plant from going to seed.”

 

Miller sighs, noting that each stem produces in excess of 1,000 seeds.

 

“We have been managing for sericia for six years and have made a noticeable difference in the number of plants and the area where it occurs,” he says. “It will probably be another 10 years before we can confidently reduce our mowing program and let the fall prairie bloom.”

 

Miller is excited about the Garden’s participation in cutting-edge research underway by a team of researchers from the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

 

“Using drones, researchers are assessing the locations and severity of serecia plants on the Ostermeier Prairie and will produce a map that will minimize the labor-intensive, grid-pattern searches we now have to undertake,” Miller elaborates. “This technique is groundbreaking in the control of invasive species.”

 

Walk the paths of the reconstructed Garden prairie throughout the year to relish the ever-changing vista of the habitat that once covered much of the Prairie State. Take in the refreshing mint scent of the lavender-flowered, pollinator-friendly wild bergamot. Pause at the Prairie Observation Berm, binoculars in hand, to watch grassland birds swaying on the heads of cup plants while their melodious songs float across a sea of native prairie grasses. Give thanks to the visionaries who 25 years ago dreamt of a place where visitors could momentarily immerse themselves in what was once the prairie of Illinois.

Save the Date: Fall Festival 2021

As COVID-19 makes holding events safely nearly impossible, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our annual fall festival this year. We are offering Fall Harvest Festival at-home craft kits for sale online for $10 each including some of our favorite festival activities including Build a Scarecrow, Tree Troll, Pumpkin Painting, Fall String Art, and Fall Wood Cookie Décor. Get details and shop online here: https://bit.ly/306QjWD

We also will be unable to hold our annual Holiday Market in November. We are hoping to welcome people back in early 2021 for Maple Syrup Demonstrations.

Our inability to host any of our annual fundraisers has been rough. We ask our Garden friends to please consider additional support this year to help make up for our lost event revenue. https://lincolnmemorialgarden.org/donate/

We realize many are experiencing tough times, and so we remain grateful for what we do have. In July, the Garden was selected as the recipient of a donation from Reisch Charities. A special thank you goes to Jeff Egizii and Reisch Charities for supporting LMG during this difficult time.

If you haven’t been out for a while, the prairies and woods beckon. Come check out our new front entrance, the new Accessible Trail, and enjoy the fall colors!

– Joel Horwedel, Executive Director, Lincoln Memorial Garden