What is Lincoln Memorial Garden?
The garden is a hundred-acre tract along the shore of Lake Springfield planted with native trees, wildflowers and prairie plants. It is a place where visitors can enjoy nature in all seasons, learn to be stewards of the environment, and discover the relationships among plants, wildlife, water, soil and sunlight in an atmosphere of peace and beauty.
Who manages the Garden?
The Abraham Lincoln Memorial Garden Foundation, governed by a board of directors, oversees the preservation, maintenance and improvement of the Garden. Daily operations are the responsibility of an Executive Director and his staff, which includes an educator and grounds crew.
What is the connection to Abraham Lincoln?
The Garden is designed to honor President Lincoln’s memory by recreating the woodland and prairie landscape he would have known in the early 19th century in central Illinois. There is no record of his actually visiting the site of today’s Garden.
Is there an admission charge?
No, entrance to the Garden is free. Certain special events may have an admission charge.
Why doesn’t Lincoln Memorial Garden look like a “real” garden?
Formal gardens are appropriate for parks, homes, and institutions, but this is a woodland “garden,” designed to resemble the natural growth of native species.
How long have these woods been standing here?
Although the woodland appears old, the Garden was founded in 1936, and nearly all the trees were planted in the years immediately following. Prior to that time, the site was open farmland.
Whose idea was it to plant these trees?
The Garden was the inspiration of Harriet Knudson. Her idea was to set aside land on the shores of the newly created Lake Springfield to honor Abraham Lincoln. She gained support from Springfield officials and in 1934 persuaded the Garden Club of Illinois to adopt the Garden as a project. She also engaged Jens Jensen to design the Garden.
Who is Jens Jensen?
The Danish-born Jensen (1860-1951) has been called “dean of the world’s landscape architects.” His work emphasized natural environments, native materials, and harmony in the landscape. He designed several city parks in Chicago. The association with Jensen led to the Garden’s placement on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
Is the Garden open the year around?
Yes, sunrise to sunset daily. Winter is a time of special beauty for hiking the Garden’s trails.
What wild animals and birds live in the Garden?
The garden is populated with many native species including red fox, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, coyotes, rabbits, chipmunks, deer, and turtles. It is a popular site for birders because it attracts both resident and migratory species of song birds. Waterfowl can be seen at the shore of Lake Springfield.
May we picnic in the Garden?
Picnicking is not encouraged, although individuals or families can bring in a sack lunch.
May we walk our dog in the Garden?
No; in order to protect the wildlife and native plants, pets are forbidden.
Does the Garden sponsor any special events?
Throughout the year the Garden sponsors a number of events, including Maple Syrup Time in February and March, a Pancake Breakfast and Silent Auction on two weekends in March, Indian Summer Festival in October, and Holiday Market in November. The Garden also sponsors occasional lectures, bus tours and workshops and regular nature hikes.
Does the Garden offer special activities for children?
Yes! The Junior Naturalist Program, Ecology Camp, and guided tours for school groups are just a few of the Garden’s offerings for students. You may contact the Garden’s educator to find programs and activities appropriate for any age group.
How can I find my way around the Garden and identify the trees and flowers along the trails?
The Garden’s color brochure carries a good map of the trails. Plantings are not labeled with signs, as they might be in a park. A hike with a naturalist will help with identification, as will the Trail Guide and nature handbooks available in the Split Rail Shop in the Nature Center.
What are the stone rings throughout the Garden?
They are known as Council Rings, circular benches of stone designed by Jens Jensen as a means of fostering friendly gatherings within the Garden. The lanes of the Garden extend off these rings.
Is the Ostermeier Prairie a natural prairie?
The Ostermeier Prairie Center, a 29-acre tract, is a former farm acquired by the Lincoln Memorial Garden Foundation in 1995. It includes a barn, pond, and century-old farmhouse. The pasture and cropland have been restored as examples of the prairie found in central Illinois during pioneer days. The site includes a handicapped-accessible interpretive trail.
How can I find out what’s happening through the year at Lincoln Memorial Garden?
There are several ways. You can consult the calendar of events on this web site, www.LincolnMemorialGarden.org. You can e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone for information, (217) 529-1111. The best way to keep informed is to become a member of the Garden.
How do I become a Lincoln Memorial Garden member?
Pick up membership information at the Nature Center, or call to ask for information to be mailed to you. Members receive Seasons, a handsome and informative quarterly newsletter; invitations to special events; and a discount in the Split Rail Shop. Members are sincerely valued by the Garden as a key base of support.
How can I become actively involved with the Garden?
The Garden has approximately 150 volunteers and can always use more! You may call the Garden at 217-529-1111 and talk to the Executive Director about your interests. Or you can go to the "volulnteer" tab under the "Get Involved" navigation button on this website.