Horace Mann partners with Knob Hill Landscape to create a one-of-a-kind natural ecosystem at its Springfield headquarters

SPRINGFIELD, ILl., March 27, 2023 – 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 ecofriendly habitat. Horace Mann partnered with Knob Hill on the Ecosystem project to continue Horace Mann’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint and provide a greener future to the next generation. When completed, Horace Mann’s headquarters building will be at the center of a newly constructed wetland which 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 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 expects to complete it in mid-April. Additional shade features are expected 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."

About Knob Hill Landscape Company

Knob Hill Landscape Company is the premier outdoor living space design and Build company in Central Illinois. With over four decades of industry experience, we are the first choice for your next outdoor living project. You can rely on our teams to implement a visionary design to enhance your outdoor living space. Our outdoor living space design and construction services include patios, in-ground pools, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, firepits, water features, and foundation plantings.

Description of the Horace Mann ecosystem project:

The feature begins on the north end of the property with the constructed wetland filter that spills into the main ecosystem pond as a five-foot-tall waterfall. As the water moves from the north to the south it narrows as it approaches a concrete bridge and is joined by a second waterfall that aids in the continued momentum south. As the water ends at the south end of the ecosystem the water becomes very shallow as it is pulled through the pre-filter by the pump system located there. Along the way many varieties of aquatic plantings and native hardwoods dot the shoreline and wetland areas to aid in biomimicry. From this point the cycle begins all over again.

Ecosystem will feature:

  •  500 tons of mossy-sandstone boulders
  • main pond
  • shallow water intake bay/pre-filter
  • three waterfalls for increased oxygenation of the water
  • oversized wetland, the size of two standard sized in ground swimming pools, to serve as an aquatic planting bed and ensure high water quality
  • wetland filter to incorporate multiple layers of river rock as well as Aquascape’s patented Snorkel® Vault and Centipede® Module technology to provide optimum water quality.

Permeable paver patio is functional as well as aesthetically pleasing:

  • constructed just off the west edge of the main pond to create a seating area for better viewing of the large waterfall.
  • permeable surface allows any rainfall to pass through its joints and filter through 30 inches of limestone rock before absorbing into the subsoil, resulting in zero run-off

About Horace Mann

Horace Mann Educators Corporation is the largest financial services company focused on helping America's educators and others who serve the community achieve lifelong financial success. The company offers individual and group insurance and financial solutions tailored to the needs of the educator community. Founded by Educators for Educators® in 1945, the company is headquartered in Springfield, Illinois.