Record number of Ecology Campers this summer

Record number of Ecology Campers this summer

by Audra Walters

This summer, Lincoln Memorial Garden welcomed over 250 campers to its Ecology Camp: some experiencing it for the first time, others returning for even a seventh or eighth summer. Days were filled with learning, creating, exploring and playing.

While our youngest adventurers only spent half days at camp, the counselors packed in as much excitement as they could to share with the campers. They went on hikes in search of insects and other garden inhabitants, learned from EPA staff how to be good stewards of nature and closed out the week with water games and popsicles.

Older campers took part in activities revolving around the ecosystems found in the Garden: prairie, woodland, wetland and savanna. Campers worked together to build a water filter to clean polluted water, learned to classify insects, became skilled in identifying common birds in the area and found samples of what they ate, and practiced pointing out the parts of a tree and their functions. Some of the best memories the kids took home with them were unplanned. These included catching toads, inventing new games, digging in the mud with friends and trying to burn a leaf with a magnifying glass.

The continued success of our Ecology Camp program would not be possible without an amazing group of people. This group includes the counselors, junior counselors, volunteer activity leaders, t-shirt washers, generous financial donors and Garden staff. And, of course, the most important aspect of the camping program is always the campers and their families!


Save the Date!

Member-only registration opens March 9, 2020
General registration begins March 16, 2020
More information available on the Garden’s website and Facebook page starting in January.


Annual Fund Drive

Consider a gift to the Garden during this season of giving.



Annual Fund Drive sustains memories, traditions and futures by Joel Horwedel

Lincoln Memorial Garden brings happy memories to many and excited anticipation to many more. We are known for our exceptional environmental education programs that offer young and old alike a place to experience and learn about the natural world. Our Holiday Market, Pancake Breakfast and Silent Auction, Lunch in Bloom, Trail Race and Indian Summer Festival have become annual traditions for many families in Springfield and surrounding communities.

For more than six decades, the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Garden Foundation has overseen this living memorial to President Abraham Lincoln. The Garden is the fruition of a local matron/conservationist/socialite Mrs. Harriet Knudson and a world-renowned landscape architect Jens Jensen. In the coming weeks, we will solicit financial assistance in our effort to not only care for the Garden and its facilities, but to remain a leader in nature education and prairie and woodland stewardship.

Annual Fund Drive dollars go directly to the operating budget to fund daily needs such as educational supplies, tools and equipment, and utilities. In the coming weeks, you will receive our Annual Fund Drive letter, and we hope you will consider taking time to make a pledge and support this wonderful local treasure.

To make a donation, click here.




Photographing Lincoln Memorial Garden

by Kathy Andrews Wright

Lincoln Memorial Garden’s second annual “Images of Lincoln Memorial Garden” Photography Contest

was a tremendous success, with an increase from the inaugural content in both the number of photographers and the number of images. Twenty-five photographers submitted a total of 144 images this year. The intent of the contest is to encourage Springfield-area residents to document the beauty and use of Lincoln Memorial Garden.

Professional photographer and LMG board member Dick Adorjan, speaking on behalf of himself and his co-judges, Springfield-area professional photographers Dannyl Dolder and John Muchow, said, “There were so many good photographs entered this year that it made our job as judges very difficult. We were excited to see the Garden through the eyes of these 25 photographers and found that they captured so many different and interesting aspects of the Garden.”

The seven first-place photographs were displayed during the 2018 Indian Summer Festival, with festival visitors voting for one additional recognition: People’s Choice. Competition was intense, but by the time the festival closed, Mason McCoy’s bald cypress image titled “Summer Ice” had garnered recognition as the People’s Choice.

Keep your camera at hand this year as you walk the Garden’s trails and enjoy sponsored programs and activities. Watch for information on the 2019 contest on the Garden’s Facebook page and website.

Winning Entries

16 and Over

Birds: Travis Henke, “Green Heron”

Wildflowers: Jessica Grim, “Daylily”

Landscapes: Mason McCoy, “Summer Ice”

Other: JJ Gouin, “Nursery Web Spider”

15 and Under

Birds: No entries received

Wildflowers: Jessica Hill, “Tiny Steps”

Landscapes: Jackie Tucka, “Ostermeier Prairie and Greenhouse”

Other: Jessica Hill, “Can’t See Me”

Also receiving recognition as Honorable Mention winners were:

16 and Over

Birds: Rick Wright, “Juvenile Great Blue Heron”

Wildflowers: Broc Hunter, “Mactrast”

Landscape: Ann Londrigan, “Fun with Shadows in Ostermeier Prairie”

Landscape: Broc Hunter, “Lake Springfield Lightning”

Other: Travis Henke, “Leucistic Fox Squirrel”

Other: Timothy Palmer, “Blue Spider”

15 and Under

Other:  Jackie Tucka, “Rabbit”


Improvements Underway at Lincoln Memorial Garden

Infrastructure Improvements Underway at Lincoln Memorial Garden

by Kathy Andrews Wright

As the design for Lincoln Memorial Garden came to fruition in the 1930s, Jens Jensen, a leader of the Prairie School of landscape architecture and one of Illinois’ earliest conservationists, envisioned a series of connected paths, bordered by arrangements of native plants and punctuated by council rings, that would invite visitors to pause and reflect on the Garden. In the spirit of the invitation Mr. Jensen continues to issue visitors, the Board of Directors has authorized improvements to the Nature Center and grounds.

Phase one of the redevelopment process entails renovation of the Nature Center, with the work to be complete by early September. The interior redesign focuses on enhancing the vista of the Garden through the existing floor-to-ceiling windows. This has involved revamping both the reception area and the Split Rail Gift Shop and creating more efficient work environments for the executive director and staff. A shift to an LED lighting system will decrease energy and maintenance needs. Office improvements also will allow staff and volunteers the opportunity to organize and archive more than 80 years of historical records. These improvements were funded with minimal expenditures from the Garden’s Capital Improvement Fund and enhanced with generous donations from Staff Carpet for the executive director’s office and from the Illinois Realtors for the filing cabinets.

Fundraising is underway for phase two of the initiative, which will develop an accessible, paved trail to allow people of all abilities, as well as families with strollers, the opportunity to experience the beauty and serenity of our native landscape and learn firsthand the intent of Jens Jensen’s design. The revamped Linden Trail will provide visitors a direct link from the Nature Center to Council Ring 3, located northwest of the Nature Center.

Approaching the Nature Center entry, visitors will find a new half-circle stone seating area reminiscent of the design of the Garden’s many council rings. This will provide a gathering place and additional outdoor classroom space for visitors, school groups and educational events. The improvements will also correct a drainage problem that has been allowing water, mud and ice to pool near the entry door. An estimated $100,000 must be raised for this phase, and construction will commence once fundraising has been completed.

If you are interested in learning more about these exciting site improvements or making a donation for the projects, please contact Executive Director Joel