A Day at Allerton

By Jeff Kohmstedt

Western chorus frogs, a red-tailed hawk, blue-grey gnatcatchers, and a common garter snake. There was a tufted titmouse, a towhee, and a red-headed woodpecker. These are just some of the animals I saw or heard last Saturday at Allerton Park.

PRN member and birder David Thomas, PRN board member Rob Kanter, and I left Champaign around 9 in the morning and headed west along Interstate 72. A short 30 or so minutes later, we arrived at the Allerton Park Music Barn for an outing.

Allerton Park Music Barn

We reacquainted ourselves to this part of the park as a precursor to PRN Day at Allerton, celebrating 50 years of PRN on May 21 (more details on that below). Part of the festivities will include birding and nature walks hosted by David and Rob.

David and Rob are old hats when it comes to this sort of stuff. The two of them have decades of experience between them, and I could tell they enjoyed each other’s company, mentally adding bird species to lists in their heads upon hearing or seeing them. Occasionally, David would pull a small black book out of his breast pocket to make a note.

It wasn’t all birds we saw. There were fungi, many varieties of wildflowers — some invasive species like garlic mustard, and two snakes — a large common garter (pictured) and a small brown snake.

Common garter snake



David and Rob

We saw the Sangamon River as it slowly creeped its way, splitting the park in two. And across the river, to flourishing wildflowers on the other bank.

What will you see at PRN Day at Allerton? I hope to see you there!

PRN Day at Allerton

Protecting Our Land, Water, and Wildlife

a 50th Anniversary Celebration of Stewardship

Help us celebrate a day at Allerton on May 21st from noon to 4:00 pm (rain or shine) at the Allerton Park Music Barn, 588 Allerton Road, Monticello, Illinois 61856. This free, family-friendly event includes:

  • Picnicking and lawn games (you bring the picnic- we’ll have some lawn games to share, but feel free to bring any fun activities)
  • A nature walk with Environmental Almanac writer/photographer and PRN board member Rob Kanter
  • A guided birding walk with local birder David Thomas
  • The Water Project, a performance developed by a theatrical ensemble led by local director and civic theater advocate, Latrelle Bright, examining our relationship with water
  • A sampling of locally-produced honey and locally grown artisanal grain breads
  • An art and photography exhibit by local artists and photographers
  • A multimedia reflection on 50 years of stewardship, including readings from PRN member Amy Hassinger’s new novel, After the Dam

More information is at prairierivers.org/fifty/#allerton

FREE and Open to the Public