Meeting Place: Conference Center Parking Lot (read the directions below). Free event.
Robert Allerton had formal art training in Europe before beginning the mansion and formal gardens in Illinois. He had a vision of blending art with the natural environment. On this 2.5-3 mile hike we will examine the blend of natural features and art. We will look at the natural spring that was used to create the reflecting pond. We will circle the Mansion with its views of the floodplain. We will walk a trail that goes through upland and floodplain forest and examine the meaning of two Emmanuel Fremiet Bronze statues in the forest. Finally we will go through the Fu Dog Garden, Pagoda of the Golden Buddas, Walled Garden to the Avenue of Chinese Musicians and Sunken Garden. It should be a good time to see the flowering gardens.
Allerton is perhaps the outdoor jewel of Central Illinois. Operated by the University of Illinois, this area was designated a National Natural Landmark by the US National Park Service because of its outstanding old-growth floodplain and upland forest covering 1200 acres. It is one of only three areas in central Illinois with over 500 acres of contiguous forest. It is home to over 1000 plant and tree species, 200 types of birds, 60 species of mammals, 45 types butterflies and 28 types of reptiles/amphibians including state endangered species as diverse as the black-billed cuckoo, mudpuppy and eastern massasauga rattlesnake. Listed as one of the 7 Wonders of Illinois by the Illinois Department of Tourism.
Park website: http://allerton.illinois.edu
Participants on this easy/moderate difficulty hike should be capable of walking 3.0 miles on uneven carriage trails and should wear good hiking shoes or boots and bring water. Consider insect repellant. All attendees will need to sign a Sierra Club waiver of liability. Limited to 20 participants, RSVP with Steve Soltys at email@example.com or 217-793-2178.
Minors need to be accompanied by a legal guardian or by a guardian who has a properly filled out Sierra Club minor release of liabilty/medical treatment authorization form completed by the legal guardian.
Directions from Springfield (about 1.25 hours): Take I-72 East and take Exit 164. Follow the signs but if you miss them here are the directions: Turn right on to Bridge Street, cross the Sangamon, turn right on Market Street, right on Marion Street, left on Allerton Road. When you see the sign for Allerton Park turn right into the park main entrance, cross the Sangamon and at the stop sign take a left. You will go 200 yards and see a sign for the Conference Center and parking pointing left. Take the left and park in the spots by the woods. There are restrooms there as well as a little cafe by the Greenhouse.