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)




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

Annual Pancake & Sausage Breakfast

Maple Syrup Time

As the cold winter weather eases, sugar maple trees begin the process of turning stored starch into sugar. Sap is made as this sugar combines with water in the ground. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of pure maple syrup. 

Tapping maple trees to make syrup is an age-old tradition in North America. You can experience it for yourself at the Garden’s annual Maple Syrup Time demonstrations set for weekends in mid-February and March (March 4-5 and March 11-12). 

Demonstrations include seeing first-hand the “evaporation” process of boiling sap over a wood fire to produce syrup and of course, tasting the delicious syrup. The program is free and open to the public. Bring the kids, check the weather and dress accordingly.

Then make plans to attend Garden’s annual Pancake and Sausage Breakfast. Make reservations for this popular breakfast and silent auction fundraiser by calling the Nature Center at 529-1111. The breakfast is set for 8 a.m. to noon on the weekends of March 18-19 and March 25-26. 

Many local businesses support this event.  Pure maple “sirup” from family-owned Funks Grove in nearby Shirley and plates and napkins from MJ Kellner. Our major event sponsor is Bank of Springfield.

2020 Fall Newsletter

In this issue: Seasons Fall 2020

  • Celebrating a Successful Prairie Restoration
  • Happy Birthday, Jens Jensen!
  • Introducing New Foundation Board Members
  • Cawley Meadow Turns 20
  • Fall Festival Will Return in 2021
  • Why Be a Member?
  • Let’s Examine Dandelions
  • Thanks to Our Many Contributors
  • Welcome New Members
  • Memorials


Hours of Operation:

The Nature Center remains closed in 2020 for the health and safety of our visitors, volunteers and staff.

Garden Trails are open every day from sunrise to sunset. Please follow State of Illinois and CDC COVID-19 safety and social distancing guidelines for outdoor activities.

Check our Facebook page and website for updates.


LMG Updates

In accordance with Governor Pritzker’s Modified Stay at Home Order, the Nature Center remains closed. Events/programs scheduled through May have been cancelled. Nature trails remain open sunrise to sunset. Follow the State of Illinois and CDC guidelines for permitted outdoor activities and social distancing.

Abraham Lincoln Memorial Garden Foundation’s priority is health and safety for our visitors and staff. We are actively monitoring the State of Illinois COVID-19 response.

Thank you for your continued support of the Garden during this challenging time. Follow the Lincoln Memorial Garden Facebook page for the latest updates and for fun and creative at-home environmental education and activities for kids and adults.

8K Trail Race

The Lincoln Memorial Garden 8K Trail Race, set for Saturday, June 6, 2020, has been cancelled for the health and safety of race participants, volunteers and staff.

Online Plant Sale

The Prairie Wildflower Plant Sale has moved online. Order by 5 p.m. CST Thursday, May 14  and you will be contacted by a Garden representative for a specific time to pick up your order at the Ostermeier Prairie Center parking lot during the weekend of May 16-17. We will be following State of Illinois and CDC safety guidelines for social distancing for safe pickup. Prairie and sun-loving native plants are the focus including 11 species of milkweeds, which attract birds and butterflies and provide natural food for native wildlife. A few nonnative, noninvasive species will be available, such as the ever-popular assortment of herbs, tomatoes and peppers.

Nature Trails and Social Distancing

Nature trails remain open sunrise to sunset. Follow the State of Illinois guidelines for permitted outdoor activities and social distancing, and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19 when visiting parks:

  • Do not visit if you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Wear a mask if you are unable to maintain a 6-foot distance from others.
  • Be courteous to other visitors. Consider stepping to the side of the trail, altering them that you are nearing from behind or pausing at a bench while they pass.
  • Use everyday preventive actions.
  • Avoid gathering in groups.

Photo Contest

The “Images of Lincoln Memorial Garden” Photography Contest encourages Springfield-area residents to document the beauty and use of Lincoln Memorial Garden. The contest entry deadline is Friday, August 28 at 5 p.m. CST. Get all the details.

Categories include:

  • Living Creatures (birds, mammals, frogs, toads, snakes, turtles, insects and other invertebrates)
  • Wildflowers
  • Landscapes
  • Celebrating Life at Lincoln Memorial Garden – People Using the Garden (e.g., hiking the trails, posing on the boulder, attending events)

Love the Garden? Consider a Gift to the Garden

Due to COVID-19, our spring season fundraising events have been cancelled. Did you know? Lincoln Memorial Garden receives no direct taxpayer support and charges no fees for access to its 100 acres of natural woodlands, trails, prairie and meadow. The Garden is managed by the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Garden Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that relies on financial donations from those who love the Garden and its mission. Please consider a donation at any level to preserve and protect Springfield’s local getaway and best-kept secret.


The mission of Lincoln Memorial Garden is to honor the memory of Abraham Lincoln through re-creation of the native landscape he would have known, and to serve as a place to find inspiration in the changing seasons, learn stewardship of the environment and explore the relationship among plants, wildlife, water and sunlight in an atmosphere of peace and beauty. Designed by internationally known landscape architect Jens Jensen, this 100-acre site features six miles of trails, footbridges, a pond, eight stone council rings, a prairie and dozens of wooden benches inscribed with Lincoln quotes.

2301 East Lake Shore Drive – Springfield, Illinois 62712-8908


Annual Fund Drive

We’d like to thank all the individuals, businesses and organizations who will be making donations to this year’s campaign. We truly appreciate your support in helping us reach our goal.

Help maintain our local treasure

It’s the annual fund drive for Lincoln Memorial Garden. Just a mention of the Garden evokes happy memories in many and exited anticipation in many more. We are know for our exceptional environmental education programs that offer young and old a place to experience and learn about the natural world.

Our Holiday Market, Pancake Breakfast, Lunch in Bloom, Trail Race and Indian Summer Festival have become annual events for generations of families in Springfield and surrounding communities.

It’s here for walkers, joggers, bird watchers, nature lovers and wanderers of all ages who seek out its beauty and solitude every season.

For more than six decades the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Garden Foundation as overseen this living tribute to President Lincoln. The Garden is the result of a fruitful collaboration between local conservationist and civic leader Harriet Knudson and world renown architect Jens Jensen.

The annual fund drive asks for your support in financial assistance to care for the Garden and facilities, remain a leader in nature education and a steward of our prairie and woodlands. Annual fund dollars go directly to operating budget to fund daily needs such as educational supplies, tools and equipment and utilities.

Please consider a donation to the annual fund in support of this local treasure.


New Accessible Walkway

A conversation with Neil Brumleve, Massie Massie & Associates, project landscape designer

LMG: Tell us about the design of the trail. Massie Massie & Associates (MMA) has been involved with the Garden for many years. How did you approach the design of this accessible addition?

Neil: Tom Wilkin and Joel Horwedel came to MMA with a vision to create an accessible trail in order for everyone to enjoy the beauty of the Garden. The design elements we are hoping to have visitors experience include native tree groves, open prairie meadows, framed views along the trails and Jens Jensen’s signature stone council rings.

The trail loop selected follows an existing wood chip trail that includes all these design elements, and the proximity to the Nature Center made decisions such as the location and layout of this trail fairly simple.

LMG: What will those who experience the new trail learn about the Garden?

Neil: I think those using the short trail loop will experience many of the key design elements that are incorporated throughout the Garden. Shady areas and filtered sun openings along the trail provide a unique experience, and the curved walkway will keep people wondering what is around the next turn.

Council Ring #3 is tucked at the edge of a wooded area about midway along the length of the trail. From this location visitors have views of an open prairie meadow with Lake Springfield in the background. I am very excited about providing an accessible walkway to one of the Garden’s council rings as they are the signature design element to many of Jensen’s designs.

LMG: Who do you hope this trail will open the Garden up to, now that there is an accessible extension? 

Neil: This trail will be enjoyed by everyone from toddlers just beginning to take those first steps to the elderly who might not feel comfortable walking on anything other than a smooth, uniform surface. People using wheelchairs, walkers or canes will also be able to experience the Garden on a comfortable, easy to navigate surface.

LMG: Tell us about the new entrance to the Nature Center as part of the project.

Neil: Replacing the entry sidewalk to the Nature Center provides an opportunity to create an outdoor gathering space. This plaza will be used by school groups, clubs, and other organizations that use the Garden for various activities and events. It will also be a nice area for individuals to sit and enjoy the natural environment.

A new stone seat wall (half council ring) and permeable unit pavers will define the plaza area just outside the Nature Center entrance. Stone similar to the existing council rings will be used, and the permeable unit pavers will help alleviate the drainage problem that has persisted in front of the Nature Center for years.

LMG: When will visitors begin to see the construction?

Neil: Weather permitting, construction could begin as early as November and last for a couple of months. If weather becomes an issue, construction could be delayed until spring of 2020, as pouring exposed aggregate sidewalks in cold weather is not recommended.

LMG: Will construction affect visiting the Garden?

Neil: The Garden will still be open during construction, although use of the area where the new trail will be constructed will be restricted. A temporary entrance walkway will allow access to the Nature Center from the parking area along East Lake Shore Drive for the duration of the project.

Project:  Lincoln Memorial Garden Entry Plaza and Accessible Walkway

Construction timeline: Early November to late December (weather permitting). If the weather does not cooperate, work could be postponed until early spring 2020.

Length of the trail: 95 feet of replacement sidewalk and 370 feet of new sidewalk for a total of 465 feet of new accessible trail surface.

Width of the trail: 6 feet wide

Landscape Design: Massie Massie & Associates

Cost estimate:  $110,000

Massie Massie & Associates (MMA) is a land planning and landscape architecture firm located in Springfield. In business since 1975, the firm offers the services of experienced planning and licensed landscape architects to individuals, corporations, foundations and public agencies. MMA has been involved in several projects at the Garden throughout the years, including the master plan for the Garden in 2001, development of the Ostermeier Prairie Center, design of the map shelter, the paver parking area along East Lake Shore Drive, front entry improvements and various other small projects.


Neil Brumleve is a licensed landscape architect at Massie Massie & Associates. He began working at MMA in 2006 shortly after receiving his bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois. He works on a wide variety of projects, incorporating sustainable design approaches whenever possible. Neil rejoined the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Garden Foundation Board in April 2019 after previously serving on the board from 2009 to 2012.

“The Lincoln Memorial Garden Foundation is committed to all who wish to enjoy many elements of the Garden. This project reflects the passion that was started so many years ago by the founders of the Garden led by Harriet Knudson, with more than 50 individuals and groups donating to make the trail happen.”

– Tom Wilken, Past President of Lincoln Memorial Garden Foundation

Photo Contest Winners Announced

Telling the Garden’s Story through Photography

by: Kathy Andrews Wright and Ann Londrigan

Everyone has a favorite place to go in the Garden. A favorite bench or tree. A favorite season, such as spring with its bursts of colorful wildflowers, or fall as the maple groves turn rich hues of gold. The cypress grove, Lincoln Council Ring, meadows and the prairie. Ecology Camp, bird and leaf hikes, Indian Summer Festival.

There is so much to see and experience in the Garden’s 110 acres, which is evident in the winning images of our third annual photography contest, “Images of Lincoln Memorial Garden.” Thirty-one photographers submitted a total of 183 images. The judges identified eight winning entries in four categories (birds, wildflowers, landscapes and the catch-all other). The contest is designed to encourage Garden visitors to share a Garden story from their own perspective and experience.

Thank you to our 2019 judges: Virginia Scott, former Lincoln Memorial Garden Foundation board member and creative force behind the Natural Impressions Notecards; Doug Bergeron of Doug Bergeron Photography and Chris Young, Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

“I love this place,” said Scott, who has been a longtime Garden volunteer and a member of the elite Acorns fundraising group. “You can find beautiful images not just on sunny days.”

About the photographs entered, Bergeron said: “I enjoyed seeing things I don’t normally see through others’ eyes, their choice of perspective and subject.”

Chris Young said photography can help people connect with a place and to learn about nature as it did for him in his early years of taking nature photos.

“I’d take photographs and go back home to look up the plants or bugs I captured,” he recalled. “I started to recognize the time of year. Nature can be a teacher if you want to learn.”

Following the judges’ review of the entries, visitors to the 2019 Indian Summer Festival voted on the eight first-place winners to select a “People’s Choice” winner. Selected for this award was Elizabeth Sanford’s entry “Beyond the Lakeshore,” which garnered the majority of the 853 votes over the two-day event.

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 2020 contest on the Garden’s Facebook page and at


Winning Entries
Age 16 and Older
Birds: Dennis Danner, “Massive Flock of Snow Geese”
Judges’ comments: Dynamic, artistic, continues to the top of the photo, leading us to imagine beyond. A view of nature and the human world colliding. Wildlife adapting to encroachment. A brave viewpoint.

Wildflowers: Craig Paszek, “Dogwood Flowers and Lake”
Judges’ comments: A layered image, yet not too busy, with the flower still and dominant. Very nice light. Photographer thought about time of day and composition. Good use of contrast and shadow.

Landscapes: Elizabeth Sanford, “Beyond the Lakeshore”
Judges’ comments: Bench adds a feeling of rumination, and the reflections are artistic. Strong lines. It’s so hard to capture a snowfall; you have to go at the time or immediately after. One hour later it does not look the same.

Other: JJ Gouin, “Bumblebee on Coneflower”
Judges’ comments: Shallow depth of field. Nice detail with the pollen on the antennae. With a bias toward conservation awareness and pollinators, this image is well-executed and timely.


Age 15 and Under
Birds: James Hugh Graham, “Where Are the Birds Now?”

Wildflowers: Charlotte Graham, “Yellow Flowers”

Landscapes: Charlotte Graham, “Trail”

Other: Charlotte Graham, “Larry the Leaf Bug”

People’s Choice: Elizabeth Sanford, “Beyond the Lakeshore”


Honorable Mentions

Birds: Dennis Danner, “Chipping Sparrow with Nesting Material”

Wildflowers: Ian J. Wick, “Liatris”

Wildflowers: Ian J. Wick, “Silhouette”

Landscape: Janet Pieper, “Foggy Path”

Landscape: Joshua Rhoades, “Icicles on Cypress”

Other: Dennis Danner, “Fawn Standing on Path”

Other: Janet Pieper, “Carp”

Other: Cyndi Gallo Callan, “Blowing Bubbles”

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.