HARTFORD — Discover the native plant life Lewis and Clark found on their historic westward journey, meet an author and photographer who followed a raindrop down the Mississippi River, and watch how bees form hives and create honey during the Confluence Tower’s first From Earth Day to Arbor Day event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 25, at 435 Confluence Tower Drive in Hartford.
Gayle Harper, author of “Roadtrip with a Raindrop,” will kick off the event with a book signing and multimedia presentation at 10 a.m. in the tower’s Visitors Center. When Harper learned a raindrop falling into the headwaters of the Mississippi would travel the river for 90 days to reach the Gulf of Mexico, she knew immediately the project of a lifetime had appeared. She made a 90-day road trip along the 2,400-mile length of the Mississippi. Her book showcases her travels with photography and stories about the people and places she encountered along the way. Harper will have her books available for sale.
Self-guided tours of the tower’s gardens are available for anyone interested in learning about plant life discovered by westward explorers Meriweather Lewis and William Clark more than 200 years ago. After viewing the garden, visit with representatives of Green Thumb Nursery of Godfrey and purchase native plant life to plant at home.
Local beekeeper Jim Cranmer will bring a display of his bees and discuss how important they are to plant life. Cranmer will provide tips for participants to develop their own hive.
Representatives of the local chapter of the Mustard Seed Peace Project (a nonprofit organization that empowers families worldwide to develop sustainable programming), the Legendary Mustang Sanctuary (a Madison County nonprofit organization dedicated to saving and finding adoptive homes for wild mustangs), and the Southwest Illinois Chapter of Wild Ones (a national nonprofit organization with local chapters that teaches about benefits of growing native wildflowers in people’s yards) also will provide information about their organizations.
There will also be activities for children throughout the day, including creating easy bird feeders and learning how plant seeds grow.
This is a free event, although there is a charge to tour the tower. The event is sponsored by SMS Engineers.
“We are very pleased to initiate this new event at the Confluence Tower,” said Deanna Barnes, projects manager for the village of Hartford. “It falls right after Earth Day and Arbor Day and provides us with the opportunity to showcase the tower gardens and the wonders of the Mississippi River.”
The tower is open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission to the tower is $4 for adults, $3 for those over 62, veterans and active military, $2 for children 12 and under and children 2 and under are free. Group rates are available for 12 or more people and reservations can be made by calling the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau at (618) 465-6676.
For information, call (618) 251-9101 or visit the events page at www.ConfluenceTower.com.