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Illinois hunting and fishing

Lincoln Memorial Garden & Nature Center education coordinator Betsy Irwin helps Rebekah Motley, 4, collect seeds during a nature walk Thursday. Photos by Chris Young.

Don’t miss fall events at Lincoln Memorial Garden

October 05, 2012 at 08:00 AM

The State Journal-Register

You can call Rebekah Motley the “Science Girl.”

She’s only 4, but already is developing into an experienced naturalist.

Thursday morning, Rebekah was at Lincoln Memorial Garden & Nature Center, 2301 East Lake Shore Drive, with her great-grandmother, Bert Gisi of Pleasant Plains.

They were at the Garden on a perfect October morning for Nature Story Adventures, a program for preschool children held every Thursday during the fall.

There are six Thursday morning programs remaining — Oct. 11, 18 and 25 and Nov. 1, 8 and 15. Topics include prairie grasses, autumn leaves, box turtles, bats and what birds and animals do during the winter.

Thursday’s program focused on seeds, and Betsy Irwin, the Garden’s educator, had several examples on hand, from acorns to milkweeds.

Motley took a milkweed pod apart and watched the seeds float to the floor of the nature center.

“It was fun,” she said later. “Those seeds were really soft. They were tickling me.”

The preschool programs are just a portion of the Garden’s fall offerings

Lincoln Memorial Garden is known for its wildflower displays in the spring, but fall offers its own colorful show.

“Usually by the Indian Summer Festival, the maples are starting to tinge,” said executive director Jim Matheis.

The Garden’s annual Indian Summer Festival will be Oct. 13-14 in Cawley Meadow, across East Lake Shore Drive from the Nature Center, and will feature fairy house builders, racing turtles, pumpkin decorating and face painting.

Winners of the Birdhouse Building Contest will be selected, and musicians will perform on the main stage.

Admission to the event is $5 for adults and $3 for children. Infants and toddlers are admitted free.

Matheis said fall colors at the Garden are pretty much on schedule, but there are no guarantees how long the nice weather will last.

“You never know how many nice walking days are left,” he said.

Birdwatchers can take advantage of fall bird walks with local birding expert Kevin Veara. Bird hikes will be every Saturday morning in October, starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, and on Oct. 13, 20 and 27. The free hikes, open to all skill levels of birders, begin at the Nature Center.

Rebekah walked the trails looking for different kinds of seeds and watched birds through binoculars.

“Can we go that way? Can we go down to the lake?” she asked.

She learned about dogwood trees and big bluestem grass and picked up acorns of all sizes.

“You can call me ‘Science Girl,’” she said.

Irwin was impressed with Rebekah’s rapidly expanding knowledge of trees and plants.

“Science Girl knows what she’s doing,” Irwin said.

The cost is $5 per session for Garden member families and $10 per session for nonmember families.

Call Irwin at 529-1111 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Chris Young can be reached at 788-1528.

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