Water feature at Lake of Woods to undergo restoration

The Champaign County Forest Preserve will begin structural restoration work on the pond and waterfall at the Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden on July 16.

More than 40 years old, the pond will receive a new liner, pond walls will be shored up and the waterfall will be rebuilt. Improvements to the pond will improve water depth and circulation, offering a healthier habitat for fish and other aquatic animals. The pond will be landscaped with native vegetation when construction is completed.

The project is expected to take 10-12 months, weather permitting.

During construction, fencing will go up around the pond at which time the water feature will be closed to the public for the season.

The bike path through the garden will remain open during construction, as will the remainder of the botanical garden north of the pond. In early August, a new outdoor exhibit, Vanishing Acts: Trees Under Threat, will be installed at the garden, adding to the many other features that will not be disturbed by the construction work.

Much of the funding for the pond and waterfall restoration project was raised through private donations to the Forest Preserve Friends Foundation.

Rosann Noel, Mabery and HI Gelvin’s daughter, provided a sizable lead gift to kick off the fundraising effort, which was then joined by numerous additional donors. Mrs. Noel, along with her husband Richard, continues to support the Gelvin legacy that is the natural beauty of Lake of the Woods.

The much-needed restoration project would not be possible were it not for their generous donations to the Friends Foundation, along with those of many other dedicated individuals.

The Forest Preserve District appreciates the community’s patience while they undertake this work. When it is completed, they believe the public will be even more pleased with the appearance and function of the garden’s most prized feature.

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