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Downtown Fountain Becomes Eco-Friendly Habitat

Horace Mann’s headquarters in downtown Springfield will soon be home to a one-of-a-kind, natural ecosystem as Knob Hill Landscape Company, a certified Aquascape contractor, transforms Horace Mann’s old fountain into an eco-friendly habitat. Horace Mann partnered with Knob Hill on the Ecosystem project to continue Horace Mann’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and providing a greener future to the next generation. When completed, Horace Mann’s headquarters building will be at the center of a newly constructed wetland that focuses on using elements of healthy ecosystems such as natural filters to oxygenate the water, eliminating the need for chemicals.

Knob Hill’s new aquatic system features over 500 tons of mossy-sandstone boulders to create the pond, which includes a wetland the size of two standard-size in-ground swimming pools. The 160,000-gallon ecosystem is recirculated through a large wetland filtration system which showcases native wetlands and promotes the health of the local aquatic ecosystem. It also includes a large permeable paver patio to create a relaxing space to view the large waterfall.

"This project is unique because the entire ecosystem is self-contained and self-sustained. No chemicals are used, and the patio is made of permeable blocks with layers of rock underneath to naturally filter all rainwater and any runoff from our grounds. It will utilize a 40,000-gallon natural filtration system to keep the water crystal clear and safe for animals," said Horace Mann Facilities Manager Josh Shelton.

Knob Hill Landscape Company began the project in November and expected to complete it in mid-April. Additional shade features are expected to be added in the summer.

"This wetland will continue to provide an attractive entry point into downtown Springfield and provide a beautiful space to gather to work or enjoy some downtime," said Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Horace Mann, Don Carley. "It also creates a great space for school groups to come and learn about the ecosystem, native plants, and animals."

"Knob Hill is excited to be partnering on this project to build one of the largest natural ecosystems we’ve created," said Landon Kirby, owner of Knob Hill Landscape Company. "Our award-winning landscape design and installation teams are creating a new pond with waterfalls and wetlands. As this project matures and becomes a complete, self-sustaining ecosystem, it will be as if mother nature created it herself."


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