RiverBank Lodge and Menard County Tourism Council have teamed up to offer a
series of interactive nature and history tours called, “Field Trips for Grown Ups.”
The program is designed to provide a unique educational fall series of short field
trips in places right in our backyard. It’s like Nature’s graduate school without the
The tours are two days in length, each focusing on a different subject area.
The tours are available to persons from across the US and it is hoped that many will
stay in Petersburg and visit our local businesses and discover our many interesting
sites. The tours are conducted outdoors and in a safe manner during the virus
The season premier starts Tuesday, Sept. 22-23 and begins with a field trip
led by Guy Sternberg. It will include a walking tour of a much renowned
research and teaching facility known worldwide for the study of trees. Starhill
Forest Arboretum is home to 50 acres of rolling, diverse land including hills, creeks
and slopes facing all directions as well as level land. Starhill Forest is home to 2,500
documented types of trees and shrubs and including the most comprehensive living
oak collection in North America. In addition, you’ll see prairie plants, pollinator
species, habitats for birds and other wildlife and more than two dozen original tree
cultivars. Founded in 1976 by Guy and Edie Sternberg, Starhill Forest Arboretum
was the first of more than 1,000 arboreta worldwide to be certified by the
international accrediting system ArbNet.
Day 2 of the series will be led by Dr. Michael Wiant, who will explain the rich
history of the Illinois River valley which started at the earth’s equator and was part of the
Mississippi River valley inhabited by mammoths, mastodons and musk ox. The area
was shaped by a flood 30 miles wide and 100 feed deep and was home to 600
generations of Native Americans. A physical tour of Emiquon will explore the terrain of
one of the country’s largest wetland restorations. Go behind the scenes at the Dickson
Mounds museum to learn even more secrets of the area’s early inhabitants and their
ways of life. Observe the waterfowl and wildlife in the preserve area.
“They are unique, interactive tours in some of the most beautiful areas. If you’ve
never been to these sites, this is a great, low cost opportunity. If you’ve been there but
want to go behind the scenes and learn more from the experts, this is the best chance
you’ll ever have,” according to Dick Moss, President of the Tourism Council.
The virus has altered our quality of life but this outdoor tour is being held
with safety at the forefront. Presentations will be outdoors and distancing will be
observed. Masks are required. There will be a behind the scenes look at the
Dickson Mounds Museum and the group will be limited in size to follow guidelines.
Couples, families or interested parties will travel in a small caravan so participants
will go to each stop in their own vehicles. Meals will be outdoors in beautiful venues
with plenty of safe space. A farm fresh dinner will be prepared onsite at Indian
Creek Farmstead to wrap up Tuesday evening in a real working farm setting.
The experience will be enhanced since it will officially be pumpkin season. The dates
for the Starhill tours are Sept. 22 & 29 and Oct. 14 & 28. The Emiquon/Dickson Mounds
tours are Sept. 23 & 30 and Oct. 13 & 27.
The tours will be held rain or shine as there are covered venues for much of the
tours. It will be a great time to enjoy the beautiful fall colors and the cooler fall weather.
For ticket information, please call RiverBank Lodge at 217.632.0202. The cost is $75 on
Tuesday (box lunch & dinner included) and $48 on Wednesdays (box lunch included, no
dinner). Out of town visitors will be provided with tourism information to enhance or
.extend their visit to Menard County. Groups are also welcome to attend.
All reservations must be made by calling our direct line at: 217-632-0202.
Payment for Tours will be taken at the time of reservation and charges for
lodging will be upon arrival.