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.

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.”



Geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing) is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with handheld GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden outdoor containers (usually small plastic boxes) called geocaches, and then share your experiences online. Anyone with a GPS device can try to locate the geocache.

There are six caches here at Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve. All the caches here are of a low difficulty rating and not far off the mulched trails. However, they are far enough off the trail that you may encounter poison ivy, so long pants are recommended. Geocachers must remain on park trails until they are within 50 feet of each cache.

Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups with a strong sense of community and support for the environment. Take your family, friends or just yourself outdoors and have some fun.

Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Geocache Placement Guidelines.


Placement of geocaches in the City of Bowling Green parks is generally only permitted in City Park and Carter Park. No prior approval is necessary.  Caches in these parks must follow all the placement guidelines as outlined at In addition, no caches will be permitted that may interfere with the use of the parks or shelters by other members of the public or found to be in an off limits area such as next to a maintenance building. Any cache that doesn’t meet these guidelines will be removed, placed in the lost and found at the BG Community Center, and a “Needs Archived” log will be posted on the cache page.

No caches will be permitted at Simpson Garden Park or Wintergarden/St. John’s Woods Nature Preserve without the prior approval of one of the naturalists or other authorized staff. If you want to place a cache in one of these areas you must stop at the Nature Center in Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve and speak to a naturalist.

General guidelines for these two parks:

Simpson Garden Park

Permission for cache placements will only be allowed with the naturalists or other approved staff’s on the spot consent.  This is a sensitive area and permission will not be easily granted. There will be a limit of two geocaches allowed.

Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve

All caches must be within 50 ft. of the trail unless special permission is given. No caches will be allowed in areas that are considered sensitive. This may include areas that have certain plants, buildings or other structures, have grounds under redevelopment, or areas off limits to the general public. There are areas in the preserve that look like park property but are in fact private land. There is a limit of six geocaches allowed at one time. All caches must be archived after 12 months (less if deemed necessary), to allow the area to regenerate. Currently all the allotted cache slots have been filled.

Upon approval by park staff a permit number will be issued and should appear on the cache page.