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Mudpuppy in shallow water, by Alex Lourash

Bring the Family and Celebrate the Sangamon River's Coolest Creature

LCF's family-friendly annual Mudpuppy Festival is a lively way to learn about the fascinating foot-long mudpuppy salamander —and the lands and wildlife that LCF works to protect.

Monarch Events Center, in downtown Monticello, provides a colorful and welcoming setting. The City of Monticello has proclaimed the day of the festival as “Mudpuppy Day.”

Mudpuppy at Allerton Park. Photo by Alex Lourash

  • Feb 19, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
    Virginia Theatre, 203 W Park Ave, Champaign, IL 61820, USA
    An Illinois tree stump has attracted a phenomenal variety of wintering raptors, including two rare Prairie Falcons. Mingle with local conservation community members and enjoy this free film premiere. Sponsored by Grand Prairie Friends and the Illinois Audubon Society. RSVP required.

Learn what makes mudpuppies so uniquely weird and wonderful. And see how researchers are counting mudpuppies in the Sangamon River — while mudpuppies are counting on us to keep their rivers clean!

Marissa Jones works on a 2021 mudpuppy survey in the Sangamon River at Allerton Park. Photo by Alex Lourash

Marissa Jones holds a mudpuppy salamander, by Alex Lourash

Thanks to Our 2023 Festival Sponsors

$1,500 Sponsors

Janice Bahr & Ernie Hoffman

$1,200 Sponsor

Beckett Law Firm, PC

$1,000 Sponsors

Bunny’s Tavern
David & Judy Webb

Rosemary Costello

Lott & SuAnn Thomas

Willow Run Subdivisions—Ted Rund

Ayers Farms
Ayers Law Office

Cim-Tek Filtration


Mudpuppy Festival sock puppet craft

$500 Sponsors

Heidi Hurd & Michael Moore

$250 Sponsors

Kirby Medical Center
Robeson Family Benefit Fund


$100 Sponsors

Webber & Thies, PC

Little Bluestem Montessori

Fasprint Monticello


In-Kind Services

Melissa Records, Photographer

Teresa DeWitt, Photographer

Elizabeth Otto, Graphic Artist

Miriam Tworek-Hofstetter, Graphic Artist


Hundreds Attended 2020 Festival

The Land Conservation Foundation’s Mudpuppy Festival on February 1, 2020, was a huge success with 300 people attending, including over 75 children of all ages. LCF extends its thanks to the Monarch Brewing Company for co-hosting this event and Kirby Medical Center and CrossFit/KMC for serving as the lead sponsors. 


This event included many kids’ activities focused on the Sangamon River and its wildlife, including mussels, birds, pollinators, and the state threatened mudpuppy, an aquatic salamander. Children had an opportunity to complete mudpuppy crafts and a scavenger hunt, have their wildlife passports stamped, faces painted, and to “fish” for prizes. 


LCF also wants to thank Monticello Mayor Larry Stoner for his proclamation naming February 1 as Mudpuppy Day in Monticello.   LCF also extends its thanks to the University of Illinois Extension, Master Naturalists; Champaign County Audubon Society; Illinois Natural History Survey; Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Illinois Nature Preserves Commission; and the many sponsors that made this event possible.


Photos by Teresa DeWitt

Mudpuppy 2020-17 Eric Smith  company at
Mudpuppy 2020-56 fishing for prizes.JPG
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