Creekside celebrates fall
A special dedication held at the feet of
Nature’s Embrace sculpture
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[October 23, 2017]
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.
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
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.
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.
acknowledged Judd McCullum in the group who was the one who found
the world’s largest wooly mammoth tusk on the property in 2005.
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.
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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.”
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
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
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
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