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.




Birding for Adults

Location: Rotary Nature Center

Date: 5/5/18
Time: 8:00AM – 12:00PM
Age: 18+
Cost: $10

Join naturalist and birder Chris Gajewicz for a morning of birding during the peak of spring migration.  Participants will learn handy tools for identifying common and uncommon birds in our area.  There will also be an opportunity to learn which optics, guides, and apps work best for birders.  This workshop is designed for adults who have an interest in birding regardless of their experience.  Binoculars and field guides can be borrowed from the nature center for the workshop and participants are welcome to bring their own as well.  The workshop will begin at the nature center at Wintergarden Park and if time allows, we will also take a short trip to other areas around Bowling Green to take in bird species that generally are not found at Wintergarden.  Registration for this program is necessary and a fee of $10 per person will need to be paid upon registration which can be done online, , or in person at the Bowling Green Community Center and Simpson Building at Simpson Garden Park during regular business hours.  For more information on the workshop, please contact Chris Gajewicz at 419.353.0301 and for registration information, please contact the front desk at 419.354.6223.

Season Hikes

Location:  Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve

March 17 @ 2:00PM
April 28 @ 2:00PM
June 22 @ 7:00PM
August 1 @ 7:00PM

*Registration Required*

Join Nature Center Staff for a hike and activities at the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature preserve throughout the year to Embrace the Season!  These free family programs will be held at the beginning and mid-point of each season.  Days and times will vary.  Programs will be limited to 7 families for each program.  Hikes will begin promptly at the start time, however the Nature Center will be open an hour ahead of each event.  Register online at (Parks and Recreation) or by calling 419-354-6223.


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)
Thursday 1/25, 2/22, 3/22, 4/26, 5/24 2.5 to 6 10:00 – 11:30AM $18/$25
Thurday 1/25, 2/22, 3/22, 4/26, 5/24 2.5 to 6 1:00 – 2:30PM $18/$25

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 6.


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.”