Nature Programs

Animated and enlightening, these nature programs are a great way to experience the City’s largest natural area.  Come mingle with the wildlife through guided hikes and activities outdoors.

All nature programs will be held at the Rotary Nature Center located in the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve.  Most programs are free, and open to all ages.  Please remember to dress appropriately for the scheduled activity.


Friday Morning Birding

Location: Rotary Nature Center

Dates: 4/7/17-5/26/17 (Fridays)
Time: 7:00AM to 9:00AM

Join Park Naturalist Chris Gajewicz on Friday mornings beginning April 7th at 7:00 a.m. through Friday, May 26th, for birding walks at Wintergarden Park.  Meet at the nature center, 615 S. Wintergarden Road, and be prepared to walk the park, rain or shine as we search for birds both common to our area year round and for spring migrants as they pass through Bowling Green on their way north.  Binoculars and field guides can be provided if you do not have your own.  There is no cost for these walks and beginners through experts are welcome.  Coffee to follow each walk.


Community Earth Day Celebration!

Location: Montessori School of Bowling Green, 515 Sand Ridge Road
Earth Day Flyer

Date: Sunday, April 30
Time: 2-4 PM

Free and open to residents of Wood County.

Enjoy special Earth Day stories, Art Projects, Activities, Nature Walks, and much more!

Numerous organizations are partnering for great Earth Day events and activities throughout the month of April. Attend one of the many hands-on volunteer activities or educational experiences provided by our sponsoring organizations and listed on the website

Join us at the end of the month, Sunday, April 30 from 2-4 at the Montessori School of BG for the culminating Community Earth Day Celebration!


Fabulous Frogs

Location: Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve

Date:  5/13/17
Time: 1:00PM to 2:30PM

Join the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department and the Wood County District Library as we learn about the wonderful world of frogs!  Hop on over to the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve on Saturday, May 13 at 1 pm to hear stories and explore their habitat.  Be prepared to get your hands wet!


Building Habitat for Butterflies & Bees

Location: Simpson Building

Date: 7/19/17
Time: 7:00PM to 8:00PM

Join the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department and the Wood County District Library as we learn about attracting butterflies and bees to your yard! Join us at Simpson Garden Park on Wednesday, July 19 at 7 PM to hear stories and learn many nectar plants which should be in full bloom!  Remember – If you build it, they will come!


Nifty Nest Building

Location: Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve

Date: 6/20/17
Time: 1:00PM to 2:30PM

Join the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department and the Wood County District Library as we learn about bird nest construction!  Join us at the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve on Tuesday, June 20 at 1 PM to hear stories and study nest specimens.  Be prepared to get our hands dirty!


Nature Stewards

Location: Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve

Come out to the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve and help to care for and restore the park! Along the way we will see and learn about the plants and wildlife we are helping. Activities include seed collecting, planting of seeds and transplants, removal of weeds and trail maintenance.  Activities may be cancelled if inclement weather prevents outdoor activities. Wearing long pants and sturdy shoes is advised.

Young Ones and Companions

Location: Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve

 Day  Dates  Age Times Cost (Res/NRes
Wednesday Jan 11, Feb 8, Mar 15, Apr 12, May 10 2.5-6 10:00AM to 11:30AM $18/$21

Bring your young nature lover out for a visit to the nature preserve!  The program includes a story, short nature hike, snack and an activity for that day’s theme.  The program is geared for preschooler’s ages 2 ½ to 5.


Volunteer Gardening at Bowling Green Parks and Recreation

Garden beds in Simpson Garden Park and City Park need volunteer help – watering, mulching, weeding, and planting. Experienced and novice gardeners are both welcome. Please join us at one or more of these work sessions.

Volunteer Work Sessions in 2017 dates and times coming soon!

Day of the Week  Date  Time

Work sessions begin at the Simpson Garden Park garage, located next to the Simpson Building at 1291 Conneaut Avenue, Bowling Green. A staff person will be on site. Gardening work clothes and sun protection are advised. Gardening tools will be available, but you are welcome to use your own. Bring a friend!

For questions, contact Mike Przysiecki at



Family and Friends Nature Hikes

Finding time to attend a nature program can be difficult with our busy, complicated schedules. The Family and Friends Nature Hike lets you pick a day and time that works for your group and a park staff member. This program is designed to provide access to the Nature Center and the preserve at your convenience on evenings and weekends. Tell us what you want to explore or leave the theme up to us. Topics may include: mammals, birds, bugs, geology, trees or flowers. We can even do night hikes! You decide!

How to Schedule a Hike:

Allow for 1.5 hours – $25 / Hike (Residents) – $35 / Hike (Non-Residents)

  • Find another family or more (we can accommodate up to 5 families at a time) and find some common times that work for your group.
  • Make sure all the families have signed a P&R Liability Waiver for 2015 (this can all be completed online or in person at the Community Center).
  • Designate one person to contact the Nature Center and arrange a time for your hike. After the hike is scheduled you may pay in advance by cash, check or credit card or bring cash or check to the program.
  • Bring fixings for s’mores if you so desire!

Program Requests

Year round general nature hikes and nature programs are available upon request at your convenience for any school or community group.  Programs are designed to meet your needs for volunteer hours, naturalist and forestry scout badges, and to supplement your curriculum.  Contact the naturalists directly to set up a program today! Contact the staff of the Rotary Nature Center at the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve by phone: 419-353-0301 or email Chris Gajewicz: or Cinda Stutzman: for more information. We look forward to serving you!

Discovery Kits:

Stop by the Rotary Nature Center, Mondays through Fridays, 8 AM to 5 PM to pick up a Discovery Kit to take with you on your family hike. The kit contains children’s binoculars, field guides, insect nets and exploration guidelines for “treading lightly.”