Sponsor a Bucket

Support Darke County Parks, and sponsor a bucket!  Each sponsor will have his/her name placed on a sap bucket along the trail during the Maple Sugarin’ Festival on March 3, 2018. 

  • “Amber Grade” ($25) sponsors will receive a 250 ml bottle of Darke County Parks maple syrup in a decorative   maple leaf-shaped glass bottle. 
  • “Fancy Grade” ($40) sponsors will receive two complimentary tickets to the Waffle & Sausage Breakfast on March 3rd from 8AM-noon in addition to a 250 ml bottle of Darke County Parks maple syrup in a decorative maple leaf-shaped glass bottle. 

  Name: _______________________________

          (Print as you would like it to appear on the sap bucket.)

   Phone Number: _________________________

   E-mail Address: _________________________

Please return form & donation  by February 15th.

Make checks payable to: Darke County Park District, c/o Naturalist Staff, P.O. Box 801, Greenville OH 45331

Click Here to Download PDF Form


Prairie Days is nearly here!

Step through a wrinkle in time to experience life on the Ohio frontier. On the weekend of September 23rd and 24th the Darke County Park District will host its annual Prairie Days festival at Shawnee Prairie Preserve at 4267 St. Rt. 502 West near Greenville. As festival attendants wander through the grounds they’ll hear the ring of the blacksmith’s hammer on the anvil, smell fresh bread baking in the outdoor oven, and see long hunters tending their fires in the woodland encampment.

Come watch apple butter made over the fire, play children’s pioneer games, view local artists’ works, enjoy live music and entertainment. This year there will be performances by The Darke County Civic Theatre on Saturday at 11:00 am and 2:30 pm and Sunday at 3:30 pm. The Silver Grass Band will perform on Saturday at 1:00pm. Sunday at 1pm, enjoy the stories of Johnny Appleseed as he passes through Prairie Days during his journeys. Also on Sunday, we welcome back the Thien Snipps Band who will perform at 2pm. 

Between acts, sit-a-spell with the pioneer volunteers in the log house or try your hand at candle-making, tin-smithing, and more! Take a stroll through the 18th century encampment and watch a tomahawk and knife throwing competition. Don’t forget to visit the Greenville FFA and their farm animal petting zoo for the young and young-at-heart to learn and enjoy. Be sure to take a lap around the festival with a horse and wagon ride provided by Carrs Belgians.

Calling all bakers!  Prepare your best pie to enter in the Friends of the Darke County Parks’ pie-baking contest held Saturday at 9:30am!  Just $2/pie to enter in any (or all!) of the following categories:  Apple, Peach, Berry, or Other.  Be sure to submit pies in a disposable pan and we cannot accept meringue or refrigerated pies.  Winner takes home a cash prize!

There will also be a wide variety of food to choose from. Take a load off as you enjoy fresh produce from Downing’s Fruit Farm, an ice cream cone from Just Ice Cream, or visit one of the non-profit vendors serving a wide variety of foods for lunch, snacks, and more!  Feeling lucky? Enter our annual basket raffle before you leave! Baskets this year include themes such as Paddling, Kitchen, Gardening, and Bird Watching!

We hope to see you next weekend (September 23 & 24) at Shawnee Prairie Preserve where admission and parking are FREE!  Transportation from the main parking areas will once again be provided by Greenville Transit System (GTS). Parking areas will be well marked with plenty of signage. This will make getting to and from the parking area to the festival grounds quick, effective, and safe for all family members. Handicap parking will once again be available in the paved lot at the Nature Center. (Please be sure to have your Handicap Placard visible). 

 For more information, call the Nature Center at (937) 548-0165 or visit the website at www.darkecountyparks.org 

Autumn Newsletter

The smell of the crisp autumn air, the crunch of colorful leaves underfoot and the near-lack of mosquitoes all combine to make this the BEST time to explore the Parks! Plan on attending our ever-popular Prairie Days festival at the end of September for a celebration of Prairies and the pioneer way of life, grab the kids for the Great Pumpkin Hunt, or attend one of the hikes without the humidity of summer! If you haven't seen the Parks in the autumn, you are missing out. See you on the trails!


Luminary Walk: Snowman Decorating Contest

Luminary Walk: Snowman Decorating Contest

 Logs will be provided as the foundation of your snowman with or without snow
 Be sure to bring all supplies you wish to use to decorate your snowman
 Snowmen must be completed by Saturday, December 2 at 4 p.m.
 The contest will be judged by the public during the Luminary Walk
 Prize awarded for People’s Choice
A great opportunity to advertise your church, business or community organization!

Send form below to mmartin@darkecountyparks.org or mail to:

Darke County Parks, P.O. Box 801
Greenville, Ohio 45331. Questions? 937.548-0165
Contact Name:_____________________________________ Organization:______________________________
Address:______________________________________ City:____________________________ Zip:__________
Phone:__________________________ Email______________________________________

Regretfully so

** Important **

The Friends of the Darke Co. Parks, who operate the gift shop at the Nature Center, and the Darke County Park District, regret to inform anyone who purchased solar eclipse glasses from the store that they should NOT use these.  Saturday, we received an email from our provider that these glasses, although labeled correctly, may in fact not be safe for solar viewing.  The Friends and the Park District regret any inconvenience this may cause you and are trying to find a solution. 

If you would like a refund, please bring your glasses in prior to Saturday August 19th to the Nature Center.

Until we are able to find a new source for purchase, please consider utilizing the information in the following links to create a safe eclipse viewing alternative. 

1.      https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/make-pinhole-projector.html

2.      https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/learn/project/how-to-make-a-pinhole-camera/

3.      http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/celestial-objects-to-watch/how-to-watch-a-partial-solar-eclipse-safely/

Once again we are terribly sorry for this.

** Important **

Darke County Parks Receives a “Best in Ohio— Connect to Nature Site” Award

On Monday April 10th Darke County Parks received an award as a “Best in Ohio—Connect to Nature Site” for their Shawnee Prairie Preserve from Leave no Child Inside: Miami Valley Collaborative (MVLNCI) and Dayton Regional Green (DRG). To receive this designation, they had to meet a set of criteria from the MVLNCI and DRG which promote students being outside and physically active every day.

The Leave No Child Inside movement was inspired by the book Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv who is also the co-founder of the International Children and Nature Network.

Other parks awarded the designation included Miami County Park District’s Stillwater Prairie Reserve, Five Rivers Metro Park’s Englewood MetroPark, and the Little Hearts Daycare. Springcreek Elementary also received the “Connect to Nature School” designation at the early April ceremony.

The award presentation included all the above mentioned representatives from all of these organizations as well as representatives from Piqua Local Schools and Dayton Children’s Hospital.

Mandy Martin, naturalist for the Darke County Park District worked very hard to earn this designation for DCP, and she said, “It is crucial for all of us to recognize the importance of green space in our community.  Both children and adults need the opportunity to experience nature as a tool for physical and emotional well-being. Receiving this designation is just one more reason to take advantage of what your Darke County Parks has to offer.” For more information about the “Leave No Child Inside” Movement and Collaborative here in Ohio, visit ohiolnci.org.

DCP Presents “Plant Name Lore”

Ever wonder how a plant got its name or why historical tradition views it in a particular light? The Mayapple is pretty easy, but others aren’t so simple. On May 20th at 2pm join a Darke County Parks naturalist to learn more about these interesting aliases. During this illuminating afternoon, participants will discuss why some plants were stuck with their common names, the historical uses for them, and perhaps a few superstitions about these beautiful back country residents.

For more information about this or any other Darke County Parks program or to register, please call the Nature Center at (937) 548-0165.

Did you know? The trout lily gets its name from the mottled color on its leaves which look similar to a brook trout’s skin.

Get “5K Fit” with DCP

Have you always wanted to try a 5K but never got around to it? Are you tired of those holiday pounds sticking around? Do you just need some motivation to get healthy? Darke County Parks is hosting a fitness program called 5K Fit every Thursday @ 5:30pm from now through May 18th. Join them throughout the spring to get healthy. They’ll have three different programs for you to choose from (walking, walking/jogging, and running) to suit your fitness needs and help you work towards a healthier lifestyle.

With everyone setting their own goals and moving at their own pace, feel free to join them at any point during the program. For every time you attend, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a free registration for the Raptor Run/Walk” on Saturday August 5th at Shawnee Prairie Preserve. Please dress for the weather and bring a timing device and water bottle. For questions or weather updates, call the Nature Center at 548-0165.