Rock Springs Nature Center provides an educational outlet, thanks to Prairie, Forest, River: The Natural Treasures of Macon County, an interactive exhibit that explores the world of plants and animals. Children and adults alike enjoy learning about native plants and animals of Macon County through seeing, feeling, crayon-rubbing, door-opening, and button-pressing in the hands-on exhibits of this fun, interactive museum.
Digging into the Past: The evidence of pre-historic and historic Native Americans as well as Euro Americans is scattered throughout Macon County. Archaeologists, by carefully digging and examining artifacts and debris found in these sites, can make educated conclusions about the lifestyles of the people who once lived here.
Experience the Prairie: All things in nature are connected. Prairies help to clean the water that drains into forested areas and ultimately reaches the streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds. Wildlife makes a home in the sea of grass and flowers for food and shelter. Rabbits, deer, hawks, prairie king snakes and other species use the prairies and woodlands for shelter, foraging, and hunting.
Learn about the Woodland Forests: Forested areas include a wide variety of plants and animals. Oaks, hickories, and many species of shrubs and wildflowers filter pollutants from the air and provide food and shelter for the birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects. With the aid of prairies and grasslands that control erosion, and the streams and rivers that provide drainage channels, a forest is critical to the success of many plants and animals.
Most of the forests in Macon County occur along the streams and rivers. Mature upland forests primarily contain oaks and hickories, but walnuts, maple, wild black cherry, and other trees are also found.
Wildflowers including trillium, bloodroot, spring beauties, and Dutchmen’s breeches survive in the woodland. This diversity of plants provides habitat for wildlife and a great place for hiking, photography, birding, and nature study.
Explore the River: A river is a vital part of the ecosystem. The Sangamon River flows through both rural and urban settings in Macon County. The artery is vulnerable to the waste products that both humans and animals produce. There are many ways that we as humans can help the river system stay clean and help the other residents of this ecosystem. Come explore how we, as stewards of the environment, can give the river a hand!