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.




Holiday Nature Crafts

Location: Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve

Ages: 3-11
Date: 12/7/19
Session 1:  10:00A – 12:00P
Session 2:  1:00P – 3:00P
Cost: Free

Make a variety of nature crafts to decorate your house for the holiday season or give as gifts!  Stations will be set up to make a variety of projects for preschool and elementary age children (3 to 11 years).  Register for the morning or afternoon session.  Treats for toasting over the fire will be provided.  You can even send the children with their grandparents while you get caught up on holiday gift shopping!


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 1/15, 2/12, 3/11, 4/8, 5/13 2.5 to 6 10:00 – 11:30AM $20/$26
Thursday 1/16, 2/13, 3/12, 4/9, 5/14 2.5 to 6 10:00 – 11:30AM $20/$26

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.


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 the current year (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.”