Ways to celebrate Pollinator Week (June 17-23, 2024)!

  • Volunteer! Join MCTG members working at Wayside Park or on the square in Petersburg this week—or later this summer. We’ll be weeding, trimming, planting, watering, mulching, and eventually collecting seeds. If you’re interested in adopting a bed or a corner on the square, we can show you the ropes!
  • Scout blooming plants now for later seed collection (see a blog on this subject soon!)
  • Be a citizen scientist! Download the iNaturalist app and participate in the Illinois Monarch Project’s Bioblitz to document local insect activity.
  • Create pollinator habitat at home! While the heat makes planting a little challenging this week, with ample water during establishment, natives will tough it out! Consider planting native species from local growers like 3B Natives. Their plants can be ordered online or purchased at Seaney’s. The Mason State Nursery is another great option!

From Pollinator Partnership:

Pollinator Week 2024 is a celebration of the vital role that pollinators play in our ecosystems, economies, and agriculture. Under the inspiring theme “Vision 2040: Thriving ecosystems, economies, and agriculture,” this year’s event urges us to envision a future where pollinators not only survive but thrive. These essential creatures, including bees, butterflies, moths, bats, beetles, and hummingbirds, are the unsung heroes behind the food we enjoy and the beauty that surrounds us. As we reflect on the interconnectedness of our world, let’s unite in a collective effort to protect and preserve these crucial pollinators. By understanding the impact of our actions on their habitats and embracing sustainable practices, we can pave the way for a flourishing future. Join us in celebrating Pollinator Week 2024, and let’s cultivate a world where both nature and humanity thrive in harmony. Explore our resources, learn about pollinator-friendly initiatives, and be inspired to contribute to the vision of a greener and more sustainable tomorrow.



Spring Cleaning at Historic Wayside Park–See new date!

Volunteers are needed this coming Wednesday, March 27th, to clean and weed the pollinator plant bed around the council circle. Work will begin at 1:00 PM.

No experience necessary! Great opportunity to learn about native prairie plants, and maybe even meet new friends!

Bring gardening tools (rakes, pruners, weeders, etc, if you have them) and gloves. Drinking water, sunscreen and hat recommended. 

Earth Day in Petersburg

Menard County Trails & Greenways Community Cleanup!

It’s that time of the year when we come together as a community to celebrate Earth Day in Petersburg. This year, the event will take place  on Saturday, April 27th. Check in a Hurie Park at 9:00 AM.

We’ll be focusing on cleaning up litter in various locations around town, including spots that are kid-friendly, so bring the whole family along for some community bonding and environmental stewardship!

Your participation is invaluable in making Petersburg a cleaner and more enjoyable place for everyone. Let’s work together to make a positive impact on our community!

To ensure we have enough supplies for everyone, please RSVP using the form below:

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Trash bags and disposable gloves will be available at Hurie Park. Please wear sturdy close-toed shoes/boots, dress for the weather and bring drinking water.
Please direct questions to menardctg@gmail.com

CANCELLED–National Trails Day Hike at New Salem: Explore, Learn, and Connect

We will reschedule this hike for later in the summer.

Plan now to join us for a hike in celebration of National Trails Day — June 1st!

National Trails Day offers a splendid chance to revel in nature’s splendor and emphasize the significance of safeguarding our trails and natural areas for future generations. Join us on June 1st for an immersive guided hike along the Cardinal Ridge Trail, which will include an off-trail detour to explore areas of the forest previously inaccessible due to the dense understory of bush honeysuckle. This detour promises not only previously unseen vistas but also an up-close look at the ongoing habitat restoration project, offering invaluable insights into conservation efforts.  Note: We won’t go far off-trail, and the terrain will not be strenuous, but it will require a little extra caution and awareness. And, of course, if you are not comfortable traversing the woods off-trail, you can stay back and wait for the group to return.

For those planning to attend, it’s imperative to dress suitably for the weather, don sturdy and supportive footwear, and remember to bring an ample supply of drinking water to stay hydrated throughout the excursion. Following the hike, Trails & Greenways will treat participants to a delightful lunch cookout at the scenic picnic pavilion by the river.

This isn’t just a hike; it’s an opportunity to connect with nature, to foster community among trail enthusiasts, and to champion environmental stewardship. Don’t miss out – join us for the National Trails Day Hike to explore, learn and connect.

For planning purposes,  your RSVP to this free event is greatly appreciated!

American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day is  celebrated on the first Saturday in June of each year. This event aims to bring together all trail enthusiasts, young and old, while honoring those who help maintain and preserve hiking trails for everyone to enjoy.  

2023 Annual Fall Float

It was a beautiful day for a float on the Sangamon River!

This past Saturday, Menard County Trails & Greenways (MCTG) hosted its Annual Sangamon River Fall Float from Gudgel Bridge to New Salem.

Approximately 30 paddlers launched their canoes and kayaks in the afternoon and wound their way down five miles of river, taking in blue skies, crisp air, the beginnings of changing leaves, and even a bald eagle!

The river was a little low, but we managed to navigate around those really low spots.

Immediately following the paddle, everyone enjoyed a toasty campfire complete with hotdogs and s’mores.

The float would not have been possible without the help of many, including: Gudgel Bridge property owner, MCTG volunteers, the PORTA school district (who kindly provided our shuttle bus), our bus driver Tiffany, the New Salem State Historic Site staff for cleaning up the shelter before our event, and the American Canoe Association. A special thank you to Dave Hedrick for setting up the campfire and making the roasting sticks!

We hope everyone had a great time! See you next year!

Life and Times of the Sangamon River

River valleys have a great many stories to tell. History is revealed in riverbanks all over the world. It is written in sediment, fossils, and artifacts. In some places, rivers expose ancient land and waterscapes created long before the river. Today, many rivers are refuges, tiny bits of what once was a far-reaching ecosystem. Life at the equator, colossal glaciers and the birth of rivers, megafauna, the arrival of people, earthquakes, a profound transformation of the landscape, but no dinosaurs, all these stories and more are told by the Sangamon River as it meanders its way across central Illinois. This video, History of the Sangamon River Valley by Michael Wiant, reveals some of the stories the Sangamon has to tell.

History of the Sangamon River Valley – HD 720p.mov from Treetop Productions on Vimeo.

Winter Seed Sowing

Winter seed sowing is a great way to grow most native plants! The seeds of many native species require cold, moist stratification to germinate. This occurs naturally when a seed falls on the soil and goes through an average Illinois winter.

These conditions can be mimicked in the refrigerator with a moist paper towel or a spoonful of sand, planting the seeds after meeting the required time for stratification of a particular species.

Winter sowing is an even simpler option—great for gardeners of all levels of experience. Planting in a milk jug or other recycled container gives seedlings a head start, as the containers create a mini-greenhouse to trap heat, speeding up germination and protecting seedlings during spring cold snaps, and lets nature work its magic! Continue reading “Winter Seed Sowing”

Pollinator Plants for Your Garden — Part 4

This post wraps up our 4 part blog series describing 12 easy-to-grow plants for attracting pollinators (butterflies, bees, etc) to your garden. View earlier blog posts here.

The final three plants described in the post are swamp milkweed, sneezeweed and aromatic aster. All 12 species discussed in the series are available for free (while supplies last!) a locations around Petersburg–see December 12th blog for details. Continue reading “Pollinator Plants for Your Garden — Part 4”

Pollinator Plants for Your Garden — Part 3

yellow coneflower
Black-eyed Susan is a prolific bloomer with showy yellow daisy-like flowers July through September.

This is Part 3 of a 4 part blog series describing 12 easy-to-grow plants for attracting pollinators (butterflies, bees, etc) to your garden. If you missed Parts 1 and 2, you can read Part 1 here;  read Part 2 here. The 12 species discussed in the series are all available for free (while supplies last!) a locations around Petersburg–see December 12th blog, Create Your Own Pollinator Habitat at Home, for details. Continue reading “Pollinator Plants for Your Garden — Part 3”