Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland - Rain Plan

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland is annually one of the staff's favorite events.  This week the weather looked to be quite favorable.  Unfortunately, the Ohio weather had other plans!

Due to the rain and possible storms forecasted, we have gone to a rain-plan.

  • The Nature Center, Log House and Blacksmith will be OPEN. All activities planned for these locations will be a go, including children's craft, decorating cookies, Santa, etc.

  • The luminary trail will lead from the Nature Center to the Log House area at a minimum. We hope to place a longer luminary trail if the weather allows.

  • Parking will occur at the Nature Center instead of the originally planned parking location of 130 Winchester.  Gates will not open until 6pm.

We hope to see some of you tomorrow from 6-9pm at the Nature Center!

If you have any questions, please contact the Nature Center by replying to this email or by calling 548-0165.

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland UPDATE


We are aware of the unfavorable weather forecasted for Saturday’s Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland event.

We are working on a rain plan to enact in the event that the rain and storms forecasted occur as expected. The Nature Center and the Log House will still have the scheduled activities (cookie decorating, craft, music, Santa), but the trail will be reduced. Please check Facebook for further updates as we see what the weather brings our way.

Ice Storm

Due to the ice storm today, November 15, the Nature Center and Park Offices will be on a 2-hr delay and will not open until 11am today.

Parent & Preschool adventures have been cancelled. 

Park trails will also be closed until 11am and will open afterwards under “use at your own risk”. 

Winter Speaker Series - Thru-hiking the Buckeye Trail

Join Darke County Parks as we welcome our first Winter Speaker, Andy Niekamp to Shawnee Prairie Preserve Nature Center on December 6th at 6:30pm. On an 88-day thru-hike of Ohio's Buckeye Trail, Andy "Captain Blue" Niekamp made the most amazing long-distance journey of his life. As he walked his home state through wilderness, farmland, small towns, big cities, rural and urban areas, he discovered Ohio in a way that can be only experienced on foot. Captain Blue's stories about the people and places, past and present will change the way you see Ohio. His beautiful photos and experiences will surely inspire you to hike the Buckeye Trail. 

Andy "Captain Blue" Niekamp has been a wilderness adventurer for more than 25 years. This IT professional, turned long-distance hiker has logged over 14,000 miles in more than 30 different states coast-to-coast including 9,500 miles on the Appalachian Trail.

 Hiking is Andy's passion and his acclaimed "fountain of youth." He has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail end-to-end four times. While more than 10,000 have completed the Appalachian Trail at least one time, fewer than 12 people worldwide have reported completing the Appalachian Trail four times.

 Andy is the founder and Chief Adventure Officer of Outdoor Adventure Connection, a backcountry guide service based in Dayton, Ohio. Andy has guided hundreds of people on backpacking trips that focus on backcountry skills, education, confidence, and Leave No Trace techniques. His company's motto is Live, Learn and Love Adventure.

His goal is to inspire others to get exercise, make friends, explore nature, live a healthier lifestyle and make their community a better place to live!

For more information about this or any of the other exciting winter speakers in this season’s series or other park district programs, please call the Nature Center at (937) 548-0165.

Full Beaver-moon Hike

Winter’s chilly weather is creeping in and brings with it unique hiking opportunities, and Darke County Parks invites you to the join them. On November 21st at 5:30pm join a naturalist at Shawnee Prairie Preserve on St. Rt. 502 just west of Greenville to enjoy the full beaver-moon. Remember to dress for the cold evening temperatures and to bring a flashlight if you choose. In the event of cloudy skies, call the Nature Center to find out about possible cancellation. For more information about this or any of the other exciting hikes in this season’s series or other park district programs, please call the Nature Center at (937) 548-0165.

Changes to Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland

The Darke County Parks invites you to their 11th annual Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland at Shawnee Prairie Preserve! On Saturday, December 1st from 6pm – 9pm, join us for one of our favorite events of the year, including many of your favorite festive actives, including over 500 luminaries, log house visitations and refreshments, marshmallow roasting, campfires, children’s crafts, gingerbread cookie decorating, nature gift shop sales, a visit from Santa and more! 

After last year’s record number of attendees a few changes were required to ensure this popular event continues to run smoothly.  A new parking destination will be located at the 130 Winchester entrance (look for the signs), just east of the main entrance to Shawnee Prairie on OH-502.  From the new parking area, illuminated wagons pulled by tractors will be available to provide transportation to and from the main trail or if you choose, you can extend your walk in the woods by just a short distance all while enjoying even more luminaries!  The main park entrance will be blocked and only those with handicap parking placards or plates will be able to enter. 

On top of the hill, between the Log House and the Nature Center, the Stillwater Stargazers will have telescopes set up and allowing for stunning views into the heavens above. The winter night sky always is spectacular!

Also new for 2018, the Park District is also asking that you call to register for this FREE event.  Registrations only require a moment of time and will allow for more accurate planning regarding the amount of supplies needed for activities and how many vehicles can be expected.  To register, simply call the Nature Center at 937-548-0165 or email at info@darkecountyparks.org.

With the addition of tractor wagon rides, new and easier parking location and all of your other favorites, the Park District is looking forward to a fun-filled evening welcoming in a peaceful holiday season!


Please call 937-548-0165 if you have questions, need directions or would like to register.   

Project FeederWatch is a Go!

Calling all birder-watchers! Join the Darke County Park District, and participate in Project FeederWatch, every Tuesday and Wednesday from 9-11am. FeederWatch is a unique citizen science program organized by Cornell University which studies winter bird populations. Observations from here in Darke County may be used in scientific journals and shared with ornithologists and bird lovers nationwide. No matter your birding level, beginner or expert, we need YOUR help! Bird watchers will gather inside the nature center at Shawnee Prairie Preserve (4267 St. Rt. 502 West) and count the birds that visit the bird-feeding station. Drop in anytime on Tuesday or Wednesday during the above times to help with the project. There will be warm drinks available for those enjoying nature from the comfort of an armchair on a cold winter’s day. For more information on Project FeederWatch or if you have questions about any of the many other programs offered by the Darke County Park District, call the Nature Center at (937) 548-0165.