DCP Presents “Skunks: They Make Scents”

As if they weren’t easily identified by their distinct black and white coloration, skunks also have an unmistakable odor. On March 30th at 6:30 join a Darke County Parks naturalist to learn more about these odiferous mammals. Odor is putting it kindly; skunks really stink! Of all chemical defenses that wildlife employ, the smell of skunk is most offensive. Participants will discover why these mammals smell so bad and why they are an important part of the ecosystem.

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? A skunk's spray is an oily liquid produced by glands under its large tail and when provoked, it can blast its foe with a foul mist that can travel as far as ten feet.

Build a Fort for March Park P.A.L.S.

Darke County Park District invites children in kindergarten through 2nd grade to join them on March 25th from 10am to 12pm at the Shawnee Prairie Nature Center to explore the Natural Play Zone during Park P.A.L.S! They encourage students to bring their sense of adventure. Working together, they will design and build a fort using natural materials. Once that is accomplished, the group can creatively use the structure for unstructured play.  Please remember to dress for the weather.

Park P.A.L.S. is a series of monthly programs designed for students of this age group who are interested in nature. P.A.L.S. stands for Practicing And Learning Stewardship, and its mission is to develop future earth stewards through meaningful educational opportunities and hands-on experiences in the natural world. A $3 fee is charged for the program, and registration is required. For any questions about the Park P.A.L.S. program or any other park district programs or to register for the March class, please call the Nature Center at (937) 548-0165.

Did you know? Unstructured outdoor play promotes creativity and imagination, gets kids moving, and builds confidence in tomorrow’s leaders.

 

Early Morning Discovery Hikes At Darke County Parks

The Darke County Park District invites the public to join them every Tuesday morning at 8am at Shawnee Prairie Preserve at 4267 St. Rt. 502 west of Greenville for their Early Morning Discovery Hikes. These hikes allow adults a chance to watch the seasons change and to discover the many life forms in their own backyard. The slowly warming temperatures make this a great time to enjoy and learn about nature. These walks focus on bird watching, trees, fungi identification, and much more. Attendees are asked to bring a pair of binoculars if possible; otherwise some are available for loan. Hikes will be held rain or shine. If you have any questions about the Early Morning Discovery Hikes or any other program offered by the park district, please call the Nature Center at (937) 548-0165 or visit the website at www.darkecountyparks.org.

Did you know? Purple Cress blooms here during March and April, and its blooms can be almost white and mildly suffused with purple.

Darke County Parks Offers Civil War Field Trip

Darke County Parks has offered hands-on, educational field trips that immerse students in natural and cultural history for years. They now have a very special field trip opportunity to offer about the Civil War, featuring the Ohio Valley Civil War Association at Shawnee Prairie Preserve.

On Friday April 28th, hear the cannon blast, watch men drill, and smell a soldier’s supper simmering. Living historians will bring a pivotal point in American history to life, illustrating not only the political but the social and economic struggles faced by our nation. Students will be treated to demonstrations by the 35th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Co. G, the 66th Illinois Co. G (also known as Birge's Western Sharpshooters), both northern and southern civilians, President and Mrs. Lincoln, and the 1st Ohio Light Artillery Bat. C, including seeing the cannon fired. The OVCWA has taught at Manassas, Kennesaw Mountain, Stones River, and Gettysburg National Battlefields, and Darke County Parks is proud to bring them back to Darke County.

Morning and afternoon sessions are available on a first come first serve basis for this exciting, free field trip. For more information or to register your class for this opportunity, contact Naturalist Hannah Wiest at (937) 548-0165 or hwiest@darkecountyparks.org.

The general public is welcome to attend the weekend living history April 29th and 30th to witness military demonstrations and observe daily life from over 150 years ago.

Darke County Birders’ Raffle “Raptor Run” Registrations

The Darke County Birders’ Club is raffling off two paid registrations for the Aug. 5th “Raptor Run/Walk” at Shawnee Prairie Preserve. This new 5K will benefit the raptor, or birds of prey, education program offered by the Darke County Park District. The registration price is $20 with a t-shirt or $12 without a t-shirt. The Birder’s raffle will take place on April 22nd at the “Take Flight” event at Shawnee Prairie.

Tickets for the raffle are $1 each or six for $5 and can be purchased at the Nature Center on St. Rt. 502 west of Greenville or at the Darke County Birders’ Breakfast with the Birds booth at “Take Flight” on April 22nd. The drawing will take place at noon that day with two lucky winners each receiving a $20 paid registration to the Aug. 5th “Raptor Run/Walk.”

The Darke County Birders’ Club is entering its 20th year and prides itself on promoting wildlife conservation and encouraging community involvement as well as enjoying bird watching. The Birders’ raffle, Breakfast with the Birds booth at “Take Flight”, and the “Raptor Run/Walk” all benefit the raptor education program and new raptor enclosure at the Darke County Park District. For more information on the Darke County Birders Club, please attend a meeting on the fourth Tuesday of each month, or contact Steve Miller at (937) 547-3340.

Photo Caption-To register for the Raptor Run/Walk, visit www.cantstoprunningco.com or pick up a registration form from the Nature Center on St. Rt. 502 West of Greenville.

Down to Earth Book Club

The Darke County Park District is pleased to announce the Down to Earth Book Club’s spring selection. For their sixth season, they will read The Moon by Whale Light: And Other Adventures Among Bats’ Penguins, Crocodilians, and Whales by Diane Ackerman. In a rare blend of scientific fact and poetic truth, the acclaimed author of A Natural History of the Senses explores the activities of whales, penguins, bats, and crocodilians plunging headlong into nature and coming up with highly entertaining treasures.

Each quarter the Down to Earth Book Club will feature a different book, some by well-known nature writers, some about outdoor adventure, and even some about pioneers settling Ohio. Everyone is invited to read the book and join them at the Nature Center to discuss the work, enjoy some yummy treats, and suggest future books.

This season’s book club will meet on Monday, May 1st at 6:30pm at the Shawnee Prairie Preserve Nature Center. Please call ahead to let them know you plan on participating in the book club discussion in May. The Darke County Parks Nature Center can be reached at (937) 548-0165.

Photo Caption: Sometimes Humpback whales blow bubbles to make fish catching “nets”.

Spring Sensations Hiking Series: Full Sap Moon

Join Darke County Parks for a hiking series exploring the sensations of spring. On March 14th at 8pm, at Worth Family Nature Preserve on Spring Hill Rd. north of St. Rt. 502 West about two and a half miles, a park naturalist will lead an exciting night time adventure under the full moon. Remember to dress for the weather. In the event of inclement weather, call the Nature Center to find out about possible cancellation. For more information about this or any other park district programs, please call the Nature Center at (937) 548-0165 or check out their Facebook page. More hikes will be forthcoming throughout the season.

Did you know? The Farmer’s Almanac calls the March full moon the sap moon due to the maple syrup season.

Woodcock Walk

Join Darke County Parks for a hiking series exploring the sensations of spring. On March 9th at 6:30 at Shawnee Prairie Preserve on St. Rt. 502 just west of Greenville we’ll begin searching for spring as we watch the skies for the American Woodcock performing its mating flight and dance. Remember to dress for the weather. In the event of severe weather, call the Nature Center to find out about possible cancellation. For more information about this or any other park district programs, please call the Nature Center at (937) 548-0165 or check out their Facebook page. More hikes will be forthcoming throughout the season.

Did you know? The the male woodcock, or timberdoodle, has a unique and beautiful courtship flight, and because of this, the bird is welcomed as a harbinger of spring

Early Morning Discovery Hikes At Darke County Parks

The Darke County Park District invites the public to join them every Tuesday morning at 8am at Shawnee Prairie Preserve at 4267 St. Rt. 502 west of Greenville for their Early Morning Discovery Hikes. These hikes allow adults a chance to watch the seasons change and to discover the many life forms in their own backyard. The slowly warming tempertures make this a great time to enjoy and learn about nature. These walks focus on bird watching, trees, fungi identification, and much more. Attendees are asked to bring a pair of binoculars if possible; otherwise some are available for loan. Hikes will be held rain or shine. If you have any questions about the Early Morning Discovery Hikes or any other program offered by the park district, please call the Nature Center at (937) 548-0165 or visit the website at www.darkecountyparks.org.

Did you know? A break in the surface of the spring wildflower, bloodroot, especially the roots, reveals a reddish sap which can be used as a dye.