Grist Mill on the Sangamon prints available online

Looking for a unique gift for someone special as well as a way to support a not-for-profit? Just in time for the holidays prints of the Grist Mill on the Sangamon River, at New Salem by Etta Ackerman are now available on our website. Check it out:

You can pay via credit card or PayPal. Prices include shipping, but if you prefer you may pick prints up in Petersburg and save 30%. (Email me if you choose to pick up your order or have any questions or issues with the online process.)

Many of you are familiar with the Grist Mill prints, but for those who are not….

The artist who created this painting titled “The Grist Mill on the Sangamon River, New Salem” is Etta Ackerman who lived from 1882-1938. She was the daughter of John Ackerman and Narcissus Atterberry. Etta studied art at college in Mt. Pleasant Iowa and then for 3 years in Germany. Her family lived west of Petersburg in the Little Grove community and then in the Bethel neighborhood south of Tallula.

New Salem was one of her favorite spots for painting.

Etta established a studio in Springfield and taught art there for many hears. She was a founding member of the Springfield Art Association.

This reproduction of an oil on canvas reflects the mill at New Salem. The mill was originally build in 1828-29 by James Rutledge and James Camron. It was later acquired by the Bale family and updated in 1853 to the appearance in this painting.

The dam in the painting is the structure that would have caused the flat boat Lincoln and his companions were piloting to get stuck. This led to Lincoln’s discovery and eventual return to the New Salem community.

The original painting, which is 47″ x 28″ was part of a retrospective 1996 exhibit of 9 Menard County artists. It is owned by private collectors Dave and Pam Williams who generously agreed to its reproduction to benefit the work of Menard County Trails & Greenways.

2020 Sangamon River Fall Float

The Annual Sangamon River Fall Float was a little different this year. Due to Covid concerns the trip was completely DIY. All 23 participants provided their own shuttles between the launch and take-out sites, brought their own refreshments, including food and beverages for the after-float campfire. It was a picture-perfect day and fun time for all.

2020 Fall float

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2020 Census! It’s Our future. Don’t leave it blank!

Don’t forget to complete the 2020 Census!  The Census will end by September 30, 2020.  You can complete your form by mail, phone, or web.  Click here for instructions:

Census data informs decisions about federal, state, and local funding for infrastructure, education, health care and beyond.  For rural areas, the Census shapes things like rural water and waste disposal systems, state wildlife grants, and hunter education and safety.  An incomplete count means the possibility of lost funds for these important resources.  Complete your 2020 Census today!

2020 Census!

Pollinator Waystation at Wayside Planted

Last year, Trails & Greenways received a donation from Menard Electric and Co-Bank to rehabilitate the exiting planting at the Wayside Park Council Circle with a new Pollinator Waystation. It was our intention of getting the planting installed in late April or early May. But, between the cool, wet spring and Covid-19, the planting was delayed by over a month!

Finally, on Friday, June 12th, with temps in the high-80s, six of us planted, mulched and watered-in 100s of tiny plants representing 23 species. Adding to the existing plants, the circle now contains 43 native species that provide food and/or nectar for pollinators. Continue reading “Pollinator Waystation at Wayside Planted”

Leaves of three, let it be….

poison ivy

Leaves of three, let it be… but leaves of three are not always a sign of danger!

There are many beneficial native plants with trifoliate leaves that are completely benign. Speaking of beneficial native plants, poison ivy IS extremely beneficial for wildlife. The flowers are visited by bees, the leaves are hosts for several moth caterpillars and browsed occasionally by mammals, and probably most importantly, the white berries feed dozens of bird species. Of course, the birds are then responsible for its wide distribution, much to the dismay of all who react to the irritating urushiol oil, present in all parts of the plant.

Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) can form a bush, creep along the ground, or grow as a climbing vine. It can be recognized by the glossy, toothed, trifoliate leaves. New growth sometimes has a reddish tinge. Fall coloring is often a brilliant orange. The vines are often covered in course hairs and aerial rootlets that allow them to cling to trees, fences, etc.

(Click on images to open larger format.)

Now for a few native species that can be confused with poison ivy: Continue reading “Leaves of three, let it be….”

Happy Arbor Day

What better way to celebrate Arbor Day than by planting a tree or two or more!

People often ask for help selecting a tree to plant at their home. My first bit of advice is always to choose something that is appropriate to the site, that will thrive for years to come. It is important to do some research and have a good understanding of a tree’s expected mature size, growth habits, and insect pest or disease concerns. Too often, we see trees that have been topped for line clearance—something that could have been avoided by selecting a smaller species! Continue reading “Happy Arbor Day”

Earth Day!

Tomorrow, April 22, 2020, is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day!  Here in Menard County we’ll be celebrating virtually this year.  Please share pics or posts of how you celebrate the day!

earth day 2019
Last year Menard County Trails & Greenways teamed up with community members and Clean up with Cops! to clean up litter in Hurie Park.