Carvings pay tribute to namesake and birds of Kickapoo Creek Park

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[February 03, 2020]   LINCOLN - Taking a walk in Kickapoo Creek Park is a pleasurable way to spend a few hours. There are always interesting things to see like deer, wild turkeys, the occasional owl, hawk and sometimes an eagle.

Unique foliage and trees are everywhere. Park manager Joe Funk keeps the area in beautiful condition. People walk everyday and there is always a friendly hello to add to the pleasure. Joe knows every walker in the park on a first name basis.

Now something new has been added to the landscape.

Local woodworker Darrell Wibben has begun creating sculptures in dead or dying trees and stumps along the road leading around the park. Joe Funk picks out appropriate sites, and Darrell begins carving owls and historic residents of the area. He uses a battery powered chain saw for the rough cut, then gouges, chisels and an electric sander for the detailed work.

What started as a tribute to Kickapoo Indian Chief Kennekuk has morphed into figurines of screech owls and barred owls.

“Chief Kennekuk looks like he belongs in the park, after all it was named after his tribe. I saw an owl nest near the road and decided to carve the resident,” said Darrell. After the sculpture is finished, it receives several coats of linseed oil to preserve it.

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Darrell has been a woodworker his entire life. He is known for his unique walking sticks with unusual carvings on them, and the large figure of Abraham Lincoln at Zion Lutheran School. Darrell’s mother Lydia and Violet Scully were best friends. Mrs. Scully created Kickapoo Creek Park for the community to enjoy.

There are several other pieces of art in the park, one by local artist Moses Pinkerton. Look for more art in the coming days.

[Curtis Fox]