- Jan 27, 2024, 1:00 PM – Jan 28, 2024, 4:00 PMMonarch Events Center, 212 S Independence St, Monticello, IL 61856, USACome for an afternoon of indoor family fun! Enjoy crafts, games, and activities including a scavenger hunt and face painting. Visit our exhibits, where friendly local experts will share their knowledge of local wildlife, lands, and rivers. Food and drink available for purchase.
Bring the Family and Celebrate the Sangamon River's Coolest Creature
LCF's 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. The sixth annual festival was held on January 27, 2024, with games, crafts, and live animal exhibits! Warren Catering with Terry Warren offered BBQ pork sandwiches, brats, hot dogs, and macaroni and cheese for purchase. Dirt Pour Traveling Bar offered beer, wine, and soda. Monarch Events Center, in downtown Monticello, provides a colorful and welcoming setting.
Mudpuppy at Allerton Park. Photo by Alex Lourash
Learn what makes mudpuppies so uniquely weird and wonderful. And see how researchers count mudpuppies in the Sangamon River — while mudpuppies count on us to keep their river homes clean!
Marissa Jones works on a 2021 mudpuppy survey in the Sangamon River at Allerton Park. Photo by Alex Lourash
Our 2024 Guest Exhibitors
Thanks to these guests for sharing their knowledge and offering hands-on learning (and face-painting fun), at this year's festival! LCF appreciates the participation of these experts in the areas of:
Mudpuppies: Andy Kuhns and Ethan Kessler, Illinois Natural History Survey
Mussels: John Griesbaum, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission
Pollinators: Judy Baxter and Mike Skreiner, Naturalists and Environmentalists
Birds: Anton Meyen and Adara Meyen, Decatur Audubon Society
Small Animals: Terri Dawson, Macon County Conservation District
Sangamon River and Macroinvertebrates: Bruce Colravy and Joe Niernberger, Upper Sangamon River Conservancy
Mettler Woods Habitat: Cassandra Meyen and Jordan Gesell, LCF
River Water Quality: Wendy Brown, Danville Area Community College
Face Painters: Megan Huckaba-Barber and Audrey Pauls
Adara Meyen with a turtle friend at the 2023 Festival. Photo by Melissa Records
2024 Festival Volunteers
Along with our exhibitors, we thank all of these people who worked to make our 2024 festival a success!
Phil Van Ness
Student Volunteers from the University of Illinois College of Law
Photo by Melissa Records
2024 Festival Sponsors
Steve Beckett Law Office LLC
Janice Bahr and Ernie Hoffman
Shonkwiler and Ayers Law Firm
Willow Run Subdivision-Ted Rund
Decatur Audubon Society
Heidi Hurd & Michael Moore
Rose Price, champaignrose.com
AHW LLC John Deere—Gary Huisinga
Cinema Gallery (Carolyn Baxley)
Piatt County SWCD Foundation
Robeson Family Benefit Fund
Animal Hospital of Monticello
Little Bluestem Montessori
Webber and Thies PC
Plus In-Kind Support From:
Teresa DeWitt, Photographer
Elizabeth Otto, Website Administrator
Melissa Records, Photographer
Miriam Tworek-Hofstetter, Graphic Artist
Festival Day Is "Mudpuppy Day" in Monticello!
The day of the festival is official Mudpuppy Day in Monticello! The proclamation shows why we named this festival for the mudpuppy (in addition to its fun name!):
WHEREAS the Sangamon River is on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory, honored for its rich variety of aquatic resources; and
WHEREAS the mudpuppy, a state threatened species, is found in the waters of the Sangamon River near Monticello; and
WHEREAS the presence of the mudpuppy is a sign of a healthy river; and
WHEREAS the mudpuppy is active in the winter and is unique in its aquatic lifestyle and colorful external gills; and
WHEREAS the Land Conservation Foundation and the City of Monticello share an interest in the health of the mudpuppy and the Sangamon River; and
WHEREAS the Land Conservation Foundation's annual Mudpuppy Festival invites the community to celebrate this remarkable creature and the waters where it lives.
Now therefore I, Larry Stoner, Mayor of the City of Monticello, do proclaim Saturday, January 27th, 2024, of this year as Mudpuppy Day in the City of Monticello.
And urge all citizens to understand, enjoy, and protect the unique natural resources in and along the Sangamon River in Piatt County.