Now that the leaves are all changing, we can finally say fall is officially here. In my opinion, fall is the best time to be outside because it is “sweatshirt weather;” all you need is just a light jacket and you’re good to go. With fall being such a great time to be outside, it’s also a great time to check out WIU’s Horn Field Campus, a retreat just about a mile south of Macomb.
I spoke to the Horn Field Campus Program Coordinator, Mindy Pheiffer about what all the Horn Field Campus has to offer. She told me about the corn maze at Horn Field Campus that opened on October 10th. Horn Field’s corn maze is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 8-10 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. There will be a special Haunted Corn Maze on Halloween Night (October 31) from 8-11 p.m. Admission is always only $5. She explained that they haven’t raised the price in the nine years that she has worked at Horn Field because they want to keep it affordable so that everyone can participate.
Another favorite fall activity of mine is building campfires. Pheiffer told me about the rental facilities at Horn Field Campus, including a small brick lodge and three brick cabins, built in 1932, which can accommodate almost 30 people total. Most Horn Field visitors that stay in the cabins make a campfire. The facilities are open to anyone to rent.
Horn Field Campus is so beautiful during the fall; in fact, someone recently had their wedding there. Pheiffer said that they have a few weddings at Horn Field every year. I asked Pheiffer what other events they have going on at Horn Field Campus. She explained some annual events including the Annual Late Winter Wellness Weekend and the Annual Wilderness First Responder Certification Course every March. Horn Field is also home to challenge course activities, team courses, a climbing tower and a high ropes course.
After learning so much about the Horn Field Campus, I wanted to know more about the history of it. “Horn Field campus became a part of WIU in 1965; before that it was privately owned. Frank Horn is actually a person. He donated half the land. His intention for the use of the property was for agriculture, outdoor education and the retreat center,” said Pheiffer.
When asked what her favorite Horn Field memory is, Pheiffer stated,”…so many memories, it’s hard to choose. Watching students learn and then get the job they’ve always wanted by learning here. Working with the students and watching them learn and develop.”
But if she really had to choose, Pheiffer’s favorite event would have to be last month’s Lodge and Libations Event which kicked off their fundraising campaign for a new outdoor education building. She loved that all the current students, alumni and friends came together for this event. They also honored Frank “Doc” Lupton, who chaired the Recreation and Park and Tourism Administration Department from 1980-1986, at this fundraising event.
“Our goal is to raise funds to build an outdoor education building at Horn and name it in honor of Dr. Lupton. We have a unique opportunity right now to make giving to (the) Horn Field Campus Outdoor Education Building Campaign easy. Send a text message to 41444, and then in the message enter HORN50, a space, and the amount you would like to give. Your contribution will help enhance learning experiences for generations to come,” Pheiffer said.
I love that WIU has such a beautiful outdoors facility where we can learn and have fun. It’s also a great place to hold events for both the campus and Macomb communities. For more information about the Horn Field campus, visit http://www.wiu.edu/coehs/rpta/horn_field_campus/index.php.