Owl Prowl Hike Under the Full Moon
Oct
23
7:00 PM19:00

Owl Prowl Hike Under the Full Moon

Walk the trails under the light of the full Moon all while we explore the wild owls that live in Darke County! We will call in owls and hopefully bring them close enough for a glimpse.  Bring a flashlight and dress for the weather.  Meet at Eidson Woods parking lot

Registration Required.  FREE

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On the Trail: Water Filtration
Oct
27
1:00 PM13:00

On the Trail: Water Filtration

Try your hand at a variety of water filters and learn the benefits of different types.  Learn what style of water filter will work best for the hikes you find yourself on.  This will be hands-on, so some walking and kneeling may be encouraged. 

Registration Required     FREE

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Candlelight Dinner on the Prairie
Nov
3
5:00 PM17:00

Candlelight Dinner on the Prairie

Step back in time to the 18th Century
The table is set, the servants are in position, and we are poised to provide you a remarkable historical evening in our log house. You’ll enjoy a hearty, hearth-cooked meal served family style and fabulous period entertainment during this unique Candlelit Dinner on the Prairie. The evening is a fund raising event with all proceeds going towards maintenance, repairs, and cultural programming within the log house. 

Space is limited, so please call to reserve your place today. Look no further for a unique-historic event!   

Registration Required    Fee: $50/person or $90/couple

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Nov
5
6:30 PM18:30

Down to Earth Book Club

The Darke County Parks Down to Earth Book Club’s fall book selection is Gene Everlasting – A Contrary Farmer’s Thoughts on Living Forever. This Ohio author, known as the “Contrary Farmer”, uses his knowledge of farming and gardening in interconnected essays to recount his childhood, adult years and his later years battling cancer.

Reviewers say the essays are “littered with nuggets of truth” and they are like a “musical…gracefully moving toward an acceptance and understanding of what living and dying truly means.”

Please pick up this book and join us on November 5th in discussing things like the longevity and resiliency of chickweed and pigweed in comparison to humans, composting and butchering and other earthy matters but also how to savor life (and even death).

Registration Required.    Call the Nature Center at 937-548-0165

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Blacksmith Workshop
Nov
10
9:30 AM09:30

Blacksmith Workshop

Learn the blacksmith trade from our Master Blacksmith!  This two-day workshop (Nov 10 & 17) will teach you the basics of the 18th-century blacksmith and how to make simple items.  After this workshop, you will be trained and able to interpret the Shawnee Prairie Blacksmith shop and will be asked to donate 40 hours of volunteer time within one year.  

Registration Required      Ages 15+ (parent must be present for those under 18)

Fee: $50 ($25 refunded after 40hours of donated time) ((fee covers both classes))

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Nov
14
10:00 AM10:00

Parent & Preschooler Adventures: Owls of Ohio (Ages 2-3)

Owls are nocturnal birds of prey known for their keen sense of vision and silent flight.  Explore the different species of Owls found in Ohio and enjoy a special visitor during this month’s preschool adventure.

Parent and Preschooler Adventures is a series of monthly, hour-long programs designed to give parents and their preschoolers an opportunity to investigate nature through hands-on activities, hikes, stories, songs, and take-home projects. The “Little Explorers” Wednesday classes are for 2-3 year olds, and the “Seedlings” Thursday classes are for 4-5 year olds. 

Registration is required, and each class has a fee of $2.00.

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Nov
15
10:00 AM10:00

Parent & Preschooler Adventures: Owls of Ohio (Ages 4-5)

Owls are nocturnal birds of prey known for their keen sense of vision and silent flight.  Explore the different species of Owls found in Ohio and enjoy a special visitor during this month’s preschool adventure.

Parent and Preschooler Adventures is a series of monthly, hour-long programs designed to give parents and their preschoolers an opportunity to investigate nature through hands-on activities, hikes, stories, songs, and take-home projects. The “Little Explorers” Wednesday classes are for 2-3 year olds, and the “Seedlings” Thursday classes are for 4-5 year olds. 

Registration is required, and each class has a fee of $2.00.

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Nov
15
6:30 PM18:30

Fossils of Ohio

We welcome Tony Rotondo and Glenn Hux of the Mercer County Library to learn about the fossils of Ohio!  We will focus on types of fossils, identification, how they form and an opportunity to make your own fossil to take home.

Registration Required     FREE

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Nov
17
1:00 PM13:00

On the Trail: Fire-starting

Fire can be huge benefit while on the trail, but the technique of fire-starting, especially in a less-than-ideal situation, can be elusive!  Join us today for a discussion on fire-starting, tools and techniques.  We'll have plenty of hands-on opportunity, so come prepared to get a bit dirty and leave smelling like a campfire!

Registration Required    FREE

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Thru-hiking the Buckeye Trail:  Things That Will Change the Way You See Ohio
Dec
6
6:30 PM18:30

Thru-hiking the Buckeye Trail: Things That Will Change the Way You See Ohio

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. 

Registration Required   FREE

Author Bio:  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.

His other long-distance trails include: the Colorado Trail, Vermont's Long Trail, Minnesota's Superior Hiking Trail, Kentucky's Sheltowee Trace, Arkansas' Ozark Highlands Trail, the Ohio To Erie Trail, and Bartram Trail.

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.

Andy is the founder and organizer of Dayton Hikers, a hiking Meetup group. Under Andy's direction, the Dayton Hikers group has grown to be the largest and most active outdoor recreation club in Dayton, Ohio. He, with the help of forty event planners, leads hikes, organizes events, and plans gatherings and presentations for its 4,000+ members.

When he's not hiking, Andy volunteers for Five Rivers MetroParks, the Buckeye Trail Association and Kentucky State Parks. He holds an undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems and a Master of Business Administration. He is a life member of the Buckeye Trail Association.

Andy is a popular presenter and motivational speaker. He is a sought-after resource for his experience, knowledge and expertise as a backcountry, long-distance hiker and skills as an educator/trainer.

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!

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Great Pumpkin Hunt
Oct
20
1:00 PM13:00

Great Pumpkin Hunt

A new twist on this old favorite, the pumpkin hunt is still an opportunity to explore the woods on a crisp fall day, but this year will be a little different.  Instead of clues on the map, this year’s pumpkin hunt will be focused on wandering the woods in search of orange colored tricks OR treats! 

Registration Required        Fee: $6

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Oct
18
10:00 AM10:00

Parent & Preschooler Adventures: Tecumseh Trail Travels (Ages 4-5)

October is one of the most beautiful months to be outside.  We’ll take a walk down the bike path and enjoy the wonder of a fall morning.  Witness the last of the wildflowers, listen to the crunch of leaves beneath your feet and smell the scents of autumn.

Parent and Preschooler Adventures is a series of monthly, hour-long programs designed to give parents and their preschoolers an opportunity to investigate nature through hands-on activities, hikes, stories, songs, and take-home projects. The “Little Explorers” Wednesday classes are for 2-3 year olds, and the “Seedlings” Thursday classes are for 4-5 year olds. 

Registration is required, and each class has a fee of $2.00.

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Oct
17
10:00 AM10:00

Parent & Preschooler Adventures: Tecumseh Trail Travels (Ages 2-3)

October is one of the most beautiful months to be outside.  We’ll take a walk down the bike path and enjoy the wonder of a fall morning.  Witness the last of the wildflowers, listen to the crunch of leaves beneath your feet and smell the scents of autumn.

Parent and Preschooler Adventures is a series of monthly, hour-long programs designed to give parents and their preschoolers an opportunity to investigate nature through hands-on activities, hikes, stories, songs, and take-home projects. The “Little Explorers” Wednesday classes are for 2-3 year olds, and the “Seedlings” Thursday classes are for 4-5 year olds. 

Registration is required, and each class has a fee of $2.00.

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Prairie Days
Sep
30
12:00 PM12:00

Prairie Days

You're Invited to Our Biggest Event of the Year!

Enjoy a weekend celebrating prairies and the pioneer way of life!  See apple butter cooked over the fire, chat with Johnny Appleseed, take a horse-drawn wagon ride, compete in childrens’ games, view local artists’ creations, listen to live music and entertainment.  Enjoy folk music from local artists, a unique production by the Darke Co. Civic Theater, or just sit a spell with our pioneer volunteers in the log house.  Take a stroll through the encampment and watch a tomahawk throwing competition. What would a festival be without food?!  Visit with the non-profit food vendors for a wide range of tasty treats, or enjoy fresh produce from Downing’s Fruit Farm. Don’t forget to participate in the pie-baking contest, offering up stiff competition each year.  Try your luck at the Friends of the Darke County Parks’ annual basket raffle and so much more!  For more information, be sure to stop by the Nature Center or check out our website throughout the month of September. 

Admission and parking are FREE.

More Details HERE

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Prairie Days
Sep
29
10:00 AM10:00

Prairie Days

You're Invited to Our Biggest Event of the Year!

Enjoy a weekend celebrating prairies and the pioneer way of life!  See apple butter cooked over the fire, chat with Johnny Appleseed, take a horse-drawn wagon ride, compete in childrens’ games, view local artists’ creations, listen to live music and entertainment.  Enjoy folk music from local artists, a unique production by the Darke Co. Civic Theater, or just sit a spell with our pioneer volunteers in the log house.  Take a stroll through the encampment and watch a tomahawk throwing competition. What would a festival be without food?!  Visit with the non-profit food vendors for a wide range of tasty treats, or enjoy fresh produce from Downing’s Fruit Farm. Don’t forget to participate in the pie-baking contest, offering up stiff competition each year.  Try your luck at the Friends of the Darke County Parks’ annual basket raffle and so much more!  For more information, be sure to stop by the Nature Center or check out our website throughout the month of September. 

Admission and parking are FREE.

More Details HERE

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Sep
20
10:00 AM10:00

Parent and Preschooler Adventures: Insect Investigations (Ages 4-5)

With nets in hand, we’ll venture into the meadows and prairies in search of insects.    Using hand lenses and bug boxes, we’ll learn what makes an insect an insect and how to separate them into different family groups.

Parent and Preschooler Adventures is a series of monthly, hour-long programs designed to give parents and their preschoolers an opportunity to investigate nature through hands-on activities, hikes, stories, songs, and take-home projects. The “Little Explorers” Wednesday classes are for 2-3 year olds, and the “Seedlings” Thursday classes are for 4-5 year olds. 

Registration is required, and each class has a fee of $2.00.

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Sep
19
10:00 AM10:00

Parent & Preschooler Adventures: Insect Investigations (Ages 2-3)

With nets in hand, we’ll venture into the meadows and prairies in search of insects.    Using hand lenses and bug boxes, we’ll learn what makes an insect an insect and how to separate them into different family groups.

Parent and Preschooler Adventures is a series of monthly, hour-long programs designed to give parents and their preschoolers an opportunity to investigate nature through hands-on activities, hikes, stories, songs, and take-home projects. The “Little Explorers” Wednesday classes are for 2-3 year olds, and the “Seedlings” Thursday classes are for 4-5 year olds. 

Registration is required, and each class has a fee of $2.00.

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Sep
11
6:30 PM18:30

Backyard Gardens: Seed Saving

Did you love your garden this year?  Bring it back to life the next season by learning the methods for saving your seeds.  You will also discover how to utilize the Growing Harvest Seed Library with Rachel Brock from the Greenville Public Library. 

Registration Required.  FREE

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Sep
8
10:00 AM10:00

Inquiry Based Learning for Educators

Attention Educators!  Join us to discover more about inquiry-based learning.  This fundamental tool is used to trigger a student’s curiosity along with building confidence, encouraging independent behavior, and strengthening their ability to handle complex problems.  This technique can create excitement in your classroom as students take a hands-on approach to learning.

Registration Required   FREE

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Trees of Ohio
Sep
4
6:30 PM18:30

Trees of Ohio

During this walk-and-learn program, we'll discuss the ways to identify trees, the most common species in Darke County and how to tell a tree by its bark.  This program will be held in the field, so come ready to walk short distances with standing in between.  

Registration Required.  FREE

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Aug
25
8:00 PM20:00

Bats of Ohio

Learn about the Bats of Ohio and what you can do to help protect these vital componets to our ecosystem.  We will even get a chance to venture outside to use our bat locating equipment and see some bats in person!

Registration is Required  FREE

Call the Nature Center at 937-548-0165

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Summer Strolls - Every Saturday June-August
Aug
25
10:00 AM10:00

Summer Strolls - Every Saturday June-August

Join us every Saturday this summer for our new "Summer Strolls" recurring walks.  We'll meet at the Nature Center at Shawnee Prairie at 10am and then hit the trail for an exploitative walk discovering this month's theme!

Throughout Saturdays in August, we'll discover "Prairies in their Prime"!  We’ll enjoy the prime season of the prairies with flowers, birds, butterflies, dragonflies and more.  August in the prairie is the place to be!  Be sure to bring a hat and water as prairies can be hot during this time of year.

Join us for a walk in the park every Saturday this summer!

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Aug
18
1:00 PM13:00

Anthony Wayne Peace Council House Open

Want to learn more about the Treaty of Greeneville, about the customs of the Native Americans here 200 years ago, or about the history of a council house? Join a local historian on August 18th from 1-4pm at the Anthony Wayne Peace Council House located at Prairie Ridge Meadow Park across from the Garst Museum to find out about these interests and more. Visitors can expect to see gifts from the twelve tribes who signed the treaty as well as many ceremonial items like a turtle shell representing the earth, a talking stick, and the ceremonial fire pits. Please remember, out of respect for the tribes who signed the treaty, enter the council house through the east door, with the rising sun, and exit through the west door, with the setting sun. 

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Summer Strolls - Every Saturday June-August
Aug
18
10:00 AM10:00

Summer Strolls - Every Saturday June-August

Join us every Saturday this summer for our new "Summer Strolls" recurring walks.  We'll meet at the Nature Center at Shawnee Prairie at 10am and then hit the trail for an exploitative walk discovering this month's theme!

Throughout Saturdays in August, we'll discover "Prairies in their Prime"!  We’ll enjoy the prime season of the prairies with flowers, birds, butterflies, dragonflies and more.  August in the prairie is the place to be!  Be sure to bring a hat and water as prairies can be hot during this time of year.

Join us for a walk in the park every Saturday this summer!

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Blacksmith Workshop
Aug
18
9:30 AM09:30

Blacksmith Workshop

Learn the blacksmith trade from our Master Blacksmith!  This two-day workshop (Aug 18 & 25) will teach you the basics of the 18th-century blacksmith and how to make simple items.  After this workshop, you will be trained and able to interpret the Shawnee Prairie Blacksmith shop and will be asked to donate 40 hours of volunteer time within one year.  

Registration Required      Ages 15+ (parent must be present for those under 18)

Fee: $50 ($25 refunded after 40hours of donated time) ((fee covers both classes))

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Aug
16
10:00 AM10:00

Parent and Preschooler Adventures: Creeking @ Bear's Mill (Ages 4-5)

Parent and Preschooler Adventures is a series of monthly, hour-long programs designed to give parents and their preschoolers an opportunity to investigate nature through hands-on activities, hikes, stories, songs, and take-home projects. The “Little Explorers” Wednesday classes are for 2-3 year olds, and the “Seedlings” Thursday classes are for 4-5 year olds. Registration is required, and each class has a fee of $2.00.

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Aug
15
10:00 AM10:00

Parent and Preschooler Adventures: Creeking @ Bear's Mill (Ages 2-3)

Parent and Preschooler Adventures is a series of monthly, hour-long programs designed to give parents and their preschoolers an opportunity to investigate nature through hands-on activities, hikes, stories, songs, and take-home projects. The “Little Explorers” Wednesday classes are for 2-3 year olds, and the “Seedlings” Thursday classes are for 4-5 year olds. Registration is required, and each class has a fee of $2.00.

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Aug
14
12:00 PM12:00

Olde Thyme Gardeners Meeting

The Club has a strong interest in heritage gardening techniques of the 19th century.  They maintain the heirloom garden at Shawnee Prairie Preserve.  No special training is necessary to become a member.  Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 12pm at the Nature Center. 

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Summer Strolls - Every Saturday June-August
Aug
11
10:00 AM10:00

Summer Strolls - Every Saturday June-August

Join us every Saturday this summer for our new "Summer Strolls" recurring walks.  We'll meet at the Nature Center at Shawnee Prairie at 10am and then hit the trail for an exploitative walk discovering this month's theme!

Throughout Saturdays in August, we'll discover "Prairies in their Prime"!  We’ll enjoy the prime season of the prairies with flowers, birds, butterflies, dragonflies and more.  August in the prairie is the place to be!  Be sure to bring a hat and water as prairies can be hot during this time of year.

Join us for a walk in the park every Saturday this summer!

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Aug
9
6:30 PM18:30

10 Essentials of Dayhiking

Discover what to pack whether you are hiking Darke County Parks or Glacier National Park!  We will discuss options to carry to ensure you and your family are safe while enjoying whatever wild space you find yourself in.  

Registration Required  FREE

Call the Nature Center at 937-548-0165

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Aug
7
6:30 PM18:30

Friends of the Parks Meeting

Organized in 1995, the Friends of the Darke County Park District is a 501(c)3 corporation whose mission is to “Promote and support the mission of the Darke County Parks through volunteerism and fund-raising”.  The Friends strive to increase public awareness and appreciation of the beauty found within Darke County Parks.  Their volunteerism shows throughout the county through Adopt-a-Waterway & Highway programs, helping staff run events such as Prairie Days, hosting the Waffle Breakfast, managing the Endowment Fund, and staffing the gift shop in the Nature Center.  Business meetings are held the first Tuesday of every month beginning at 6:30pm, with a gathering or program being held at 7pm immediately following the business meeting.  Please join us!

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