Creekside celebrates fall
A special dedication held at the feet of Nature’s Embrace sculpture

Send a link to a friend  Share

[October 23, 2017] 


On Saturday, a special fall celebration was held at the G. Dennis Campbell Creekside Outdoor Center for Environmental Education. The center, owned and managed by Lincoln College is located just north of Lincoln along Sugar Creek. The property is very well known for being the location were the world’s largest wooly mammoth tusk was found along the banks of the creek.

Though that is the original claim to fame, the property has become a very popular nature center, featuring a park like setting that is used by the public and is also an outdoor lab for LC students involved in environmental studies.

On this occasion, the fall festival at Creekside began with a special dedication service at the feet of “Natures embrace” an eight-foot tall wood sculpture created by Lincoln artist Moses Pinkerton, with assistance from Jason Hoffman, a local sculptor and 1999 graduate of Lincoln College.

The sculpture was created earlier this year by Pinkerton in Hoffman’s Lincoln Studio. It was designed with Creekside in mind as the final destination. When finished, it was delivered and installed along the concrete pathway between the parking lot and the pavilion.

On Saturday, a large group came out for the dedication service, which included the unveiling of an engraved stone slab acknowledging the artists and their gift to the college. The stone, which lays at the feet of the statue reads, “Nature’s Embrace by Moses Pinkerton 2017 built at the Jason Hoffman (L.C. Class of ’99) School of Sculpture right here in Lincoln, IL.”

Dr. Dennis Campbell opened the ceremony welcoming all those in attendance.

Campbell continued, “Creekside is yours, the administrators tell me you cannot sell it, but come out here and try to find a legitimate way to enjoy nature. Offer us suggestions on how we can make it better.” Campbell went on to mention his next vision for the center, a large building that could serve as a conference center as well as education center. Then, following suggestions that he keep his talk short, Campbell turned the service over to Lincoln College President Dr. David Gerlach.

Gerlach opened with comments on how amazing the center is, and how it was through the vision and dedication of Dr. Campbell that the center is what it is today. He noted that the center is a great resource for the college students studying in the environmental fields.

He acknowledged Judd McCullum in the group who was the one who found the world’s largest wooly mammoth tusk on the property in 2005.

“He is famous, you don’t know that you are here among famous individuals. He found the largest wooly mammoth tusk in the world, right here in that creek.” He went on to say that the discovery was made during a mussel study being led by Dr. Campbell.

[to top of second column]

Gerlach went on to talk about Campbell’s commitment to continually improve the center and bring more to the location to draw interest for visitors. The most recent addition being the Natures Embrace sculpture.

Gerlach acknowledge the gift and the artists, Moses Pinkerton, who was unable to attend due to a conflict in schedule. Gerlach also acknowledged Hoffman who is a graduate of Lincoln College in the class of 1999, and was a star wrestler at the college.

As he introduced Hoffman to say a few words on behalf of Pinkerton he said, “You can be a tree hugger, or you can be hugged by a tree. I want to thank the vision of Dennis (Campbell), of Moses, and all the volunteers who have come out here and worked.”

Jason Hoffman also spoke briefly, “first and foremost, we want to thank Lincoln College and Dennis for working with us. This has been a great experience.” Hoffman said that Natures Embrace was carved from a large log on an abandoned property next door to his studio. He added that there is a second log available that the pair plan to carve a bench from, and if Campbell and the college are interested, it too could be incorporated into the landscape at Creekside.

The wood carving weights about 1,500 pound, it took about three months to carve, and was delivered to the center by volunteers and placed. Hoffman noted that the project was much more a collaboration between Pinkerton and Hoffman’s father, than Hoffman himself.

At the end of the service, Gerlach and Campbell asked that Hoffman join them at the feet of the statue for the unveiling of the engraved stone. Immediately following, the Lincoln College Chorale same a beautiful A Capella piece entitled “Come on up for the rising.”

The balance of the day was dedicated to simply enjoying the outdoors and the impact of fall on the landscape. Various displays were set up for visitors to enjoy and Lincoln College offered hot dogs cooked over the fire pit on the grounds.

The Pete Fredericks Log Cabin was open for viewing and members of the Logan County Railsplitting Association offered several pioneer era displays and activities. The cabin is now fully furnished and looks very much like a livable home from the late 1700’s, early 1800’s.

The center is also now sporting a replica of a Native American dwelling, typical of what would have been found in this region during the pre-settlement years.

The wood pathway leads all the way from the main center to the cabin, then turns to a dirt path that goes on into the woods and ends at Sugar Creek.

Back at the center, the Insectarium was open for everyone to go inside and enjoy the current butterfly populations. T This year the insectarium is responsible for successfully hatching and releasing into the outdoors more than 250 Monarch butterflies.

Currently there are at least three species of butterfly in the insectarium including several remaining Monarchs, along with some other insects.

Another new addition to the center is a mini library, stocked with books about nature. Guests to the center may choose to take a book to read at the center, or to take home, free of charge. It is also hoped that those with children’s books or nature books they have already read, may choose to donate them to the little library.

Throughout the day, many people came to enjoy the center. The weather was perfect for such a day. The air was crisp and cool in the morning and warmed only slightly as the day progressed, making it the perfect day to run and play and enjoy nature at its best at Creekside.

[Nila Smith]

Back to top