614 Posts
42 earth week

This week is Earth Week, so here are some ways you can get outdoors and celebrate your planet!  You can plant a garden for farm to table meals or flowers to enjoy their beauty.  Below are a few places to help get you started; some offer classes to help inspire you.  I have picked three locations so you can find some thing near your home town. 

Chicagoland Area –

Morton Arboretum

4100 Illinois Route 53

Lisle, IL 60532


Date: Sunday, April 17, 2011

Time: 2:00PM to 3:00PM

Where:  Visitor Center Building

Fees: Registration is open until start of the event. Sign up to reserve your spot. Normal admission fees apply.  $5 for members / $6 for non-members
Sign up: Online
Call 630-719-2468, or In person at the, Visitor Center Monday-Friday; 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Explore Gardening at the Morton Arboretum

Grab your walking shoes and spend an hour in the Arboretum’s gardens and collections with plant and garden experts. Each program will start with a timely, seasonal topic related to plant selection and garden design and will include opportunities for questions.
Note: Held outdoors. Please dress for the weather.
Registration: Open now until the start of the event. Register early to reserve your spot. Normal admission fees apply.
Recommended ages: 16 years old and up

Central Illinois –

Lincoln Memorial Garden & Nature Center

2301 East Lake Drive
Springfield, Illinois 62712-8908


Date: Saturday, April 16

Time: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Where: Garden Center


When spring wildflowers begin peeping out of the woods, photographers who use “point-and-shoot” digital cameras are invited to gather at the Garden for a photography workshop from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 16th. Dick Adorjan will help sharpen your photographic skills and inspire you to have more fun with your photography. He will trade tips with other shutterbugs, using the colorful Garden trails as a living laboratory of native flora and fauna.  

 Southern Illinois –

Trail of Tears-Mid- America

Morel Mushroom Hunt Festival

Trail of Tears Lodge & Resort
1575 Fair City Road
Jonesboro, Illinois 62037


Date:  Friday, April 15-17, 2011

Hunters:  Check in 8:55 a.m.; Return to Registration by 1 p.m.
Where: Trail of Tears Lodge & Resort
           1575 Fair City Road
           Jonesboro, Illinois 62037

Fees:  Hunt fees $15

          Cook Off: $10 Entry fee per Dish    

          Dinner at Lodge based on Menu pricing    

Spring is in the air and Trail of Tears Lodge & Resort is ready to welcome the season for mushrooms!  The event will feature a mushroom auction and cook off contest a competitive morel hunt in where the winner will receive a trophy.  If you’re not up for hunting for you dinner you can stop the lodge and pick a meal from their extensive morel mushroom menu.  There will be entertainment to follow throughout the evening. For more information, call 1-800-248-4373.  

Additional Details at www.southernmostillinois.com

 However you decide to celebrate Earth Week, be sure to send us some photos to post on our Flicker page.  Send photos to enjoyillinois@gmail.com .

I look forward to hearing and seeing how you celebrate Earth Week!

Ciao –


43 march is women's month

Jane Adams Hull House Museum

Jane Addams is one history’s great women.  She was born in Cedarville, Illinois, on September 6, 1860.  Jane Addams was the first American woman to win the Nobel peace prize in 1931.  The FBI compiled a huge dossier on Addams and considered her one of the most dangerous women in America because of her passivism, advocacy for women’s rights and her commitment to democracy.

She was the co-founder of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and helped to establish the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as well as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Jane Addams Hull House is still in the heart of the community.  Each year, more than 60,000 people receive help through a variety of programs including foster care, job training, child care, counseling, education and literacy. Their programs continue to be community-based so they can be quick to respond to the needs of children, families, and seniors. They carry on Jane Addams’ simple mission of neighbors helping neighbors

If your in Chicago, stop in to learn about Nobel Prize winner Jane Addams one of our great women of history.

The Jane Addams Hull House Museum is open to the public for tours Tuesday – Friday, from 10 am – 4 pm, and Sundays from 12 Noon – 4 pm.  It is closed Mondays, Saturdays and on select holidays.  An introductory slide presentation is available to drop-in visitors. 

Jane Addams Hull House Museum

800 S. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60607

Admission:  FREE

44 chicago at the oscars

Chicago has been represented at the Oscars since 1982 when R.S. Owens Company started producing them.  It’s where dreams are made of 24-carat gold plated britannium on a black metal base, it is 13.5 inches (34cm) tall weighs 8.5 lbs. and value unknown (top secret).  It portrays a knight in Art Deco style holding a crusader’s sword standing on a reel of film with five spokes.  Each spoke represents the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers and Technicians.

The origin of the name Oscar has been challenged over many years.  Bette Davis claims she named it after her 1st husband in her biography.  Louis B. Meyer’s secretary claimed it looked like “King Oscar II” and asked “What should we do with Oscar, put him in the vault?”  However the name became official in 1939 by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Chicago has another Oscar connection with 3 designers competing with 9 other designers to have their dress chosen to be worn by an awards escort during the Academy Awards airing on Sunday, February 27th 4 p.m. PT. 

Our three Chicago designers are: Miriam Cecilia Carlson from Chicago, James De Colon and Borris Powell competing to have their dress chosen.  Tune in and root for our Chicago designers. 

And the winners are…….

Ciao –


The Ballard Nature Center

With a glimpse of spring in the air check out the Ballard Nature Center, just east of Altamont, IL. It  is a privately funded, non-profit, 210 acre nature conservatory whose mission is to provide high quality environmental education to the public. The center has six miles of trails including wetland, woodland, prairie and savanna environments. There’s a spacious visitor center at near the parking lot with wonderful displays inside describing local flora and fauna and their habitats. There’s also a children’s center with puzzles, games and activities for the youngest of adventurers. There’s a large lower story where classes are held and the area can also be rented for various functions. Schools can arrange for field trips to the center and each summer nature day camps are held for children, as well as families.
Where the center really shines is in it’s trails. With the various types of trails available, whether it’s a stroll through the woods, or a walk through the prairie as it was when the first settlers crossed Illinois, a person could come back time and time again and experience something completely different. There are benches in strategic resting spots along the trails and the wetland/prairie loop trail is completely handicap accessible. There’s also a kids fishing pond available for children under 15.
The visitors center is open 8:00 – 4:00 Monday through Friday, Noon-4:00 on Saturday and 1:00-4:00 on Sunday and is staffed by educators during those hours. The trails are open daily from dawn to dusk.

Additional and larger images

Locate on Map

-Ed Baumgarten

46 the war is over

Mound City National Cemetery

That quote was from Lt. General U.S. Grant, and the statement was prompted by the exultation of Union troops around the McLean house at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, following the surrender of that part of the Confederate Army known as the Army of Northern Virginia, by General Robert Edward Lee.

I was reminded of that quote when I visited the Mound City National Cemetery this past Veteran’s Day. I went there because I expected to see a ceremony, which they actually hold on the Saturday prior to the holiday. Instead I found a more private experience.

The most noticeable feature in the cemetery is probably the large monument erected to soldiers of the United States who could not be identified after their deaths. Now our military issues tags to our soldiers, including their identification. In the War of the 1860s, soldiers who were about to go into battle, would sometimes take a scrap of paper and write their names and addresses and pin this to their clothing, so they could be identified and their families notified in case they were killed. It was a practical, though it may seem fatalistic, response to the conditions in which they found themselves.

The monument includes names carved in stone, though now weathered by time and the elements, from all the states remaining loyal to the Union in the period between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1865. The sacrifice of these brave men, as timeworn as the memory is, dwarfs the imposing size of their monument.

Along the path to that monument, there was a gray stone, just off to my left as I approached, placed there by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. This stone is there to honor the sacrifice of their soldiers, whose courage was no less than the courage of their Union counterparts. It reminded me that under this soil, they are all American soldiers, whether they were from Virginia, the first sustained English settlement in North America, or Kansas, the state which joined the Union just three months before Confederate batteries first fired on Ft. Sumter.

All of the people beneath this sod are American soldiers, Marines, sailors, or airmen. They served in our wars since 1861, the Union soldiers in combat, the Confederates went to Glory as prisoners of war. The more recent internments have been from those who served in subsequent conflicts.

The cemetery is found just outside of Mounds, a little town along the Ohio River Scenic Roadway. If you are traveling along Interstate 57, take Exit 8, Mounds Road, turn left on County Road 8, toward Mounds City. Turn right on Illinois 37, and drive through Mounds City, until you see the cemetery on your left. For more information, you can look at their website at

The flag over this place of honor is Old Glory, though soldiers who served under the Stars and Bars also rest here. There has been a great deal of controversy over those remembering the service of Confederate veterans over the years, particularly in the vicinity of Camp Douglas, the Confederate prison camp. The quote I used to begin this blog was in the spirit of unity, from a resident of Galena. I’d like to close with a plea for unity, from a resident of Springfield.

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, across this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

–A. Lincoln, March 4, 1861

 “The war is over. The Rebels are our countrymen again”www.moundcitynationalcemetery.org or contact them at 618-748-9041. There is a caretaker’s cottage on site. In fact, when I drove past the cemetery, I stopped in at a convenience store for directions, and the lady directed me to the caretaker, who had the day off, since it was Veteran’s day, and just happened to be in there for coffee. He was very helpful.