The beautiful new Lawrence Riverwalk opened today, May 14, 2010. The quarter-mile-long trail is the innovative idea of 12 Lawrence students who participated in an environmental studies symposium with Associate Professor of Geology Andrew Knudsen.
The two-level trail loop, located just east of S. Lawe St. between the Warch Campus Center and the Fox River, features a crushed stone surface on its upper tract (designed to be bicycle and wheelchair accessible) and a natural wood-chip surface on the lower trail next to the riverbank.
The trail includes interpretive signs composed by Lawrence students on three subjects: the historic relationship between Lawrence and the Fox River; the early people who lived in the area; and the geological history of the Fox River. Professors Peter Peregrine, Carol and Ron Mason, Jeff Clark and Monica Rico in the anthropology, geology and history departments, respectively, assisted the students in developing the signs.
Highlighting the trail are two African sculptures created from serpentine stone by members of the Shona tribe of Zimbabwe. The two art works were part of a gift from Milwaukee art gallery owner David Barnett and his wife, Susan, a 1981 Lawrence graduate.
The trail also includes several large limestone benches for repose and reflection.
Crossing Lawe Street, the trail continues past the Sustainable Lawrence University Garden, visitors will notice several improvements including gated entrances to the garden, a new garden shed and arbor, and improved landscaping. Progress on the Gilboy Council Ring continues. A gift from Steven ’62 and Joan Gilboy P’90, it features a fire pit surrounded by a stone floor and limestone benches. When completed, the Gilboy Council Ring will add a picturesque meeting place to the Lawrence campus.
The Riverwalk adds a new dimension to the Lawrence campus. The proximity to the river and the restful quality of the trail, benches and art are welcome amenities to be enjoyed by members of the Lawrence and Fox Valley communities for years to come.