Photo courtesy of Shellyn Leeper Photography

Nature in Your Neighborhood with The Wilderness Center

(Wilmont, Ohio) – Officials are announcing a new partnership designed to bring additional programming to the surrounding area.

The organization explained in a press release that the move continues its mission to connect the community with nature. The Wilderness Center is announcing they will be partnering with local businesses and parks to bring an even greater array of interesting and entertaining programming to the surrounding area. Beginning this week, TWC naturalist Carrie Elvey will be traveling to the Local Roots Market & Cafe in Wooster, Paul & Carol David YMCA in Jackson Township, Troutman Vineyards in Wooster and the Barnes Preserve in Wooster to bring entertaining programming to new audiences.

“I find nature to be endlessly fascinating. There is a story to be told in every leaf, every rock and even in every fly that lands at your summer picnic. I love unravelling and telling those stories,” said Elvey. “And I’m so excited to be able to bring these fun programs out into our community.”

Attendees will enjoy the charming rural setting and delicious local wines at Troutman Vineyards in Wooster as Elvey offers insights into the lives houseplants, pollinators, butterflies, and backyard wildlife with the return of the popular Wine & Wilderness series.

Also coming to the David YMCA and Local Roots will be the launch of a 6-part series offering an in-depth look at the Lives of Mammals. These programs will explore the furry creatures that frequent Ohio’s landscape and their role in our culture, history and backyard world.

Nature Journal – Tracking Change will be a year-long celebration of the changes happening all around us and the wonder of backyard nature. Partnering with the Wayne County Park District’s Barnes Preserve, the class will offer participants an opportunity to explore the seasonal changes at both the Wooster park, and The Wilderness Center’s Wilmot headquarters. Classes will include hands-on explorations and short hikes to give attendees the skills for identifying flora and fauna and tips for recording observations.

These programs are part of The Wilderness Center’s life-long learning initiative, OAKS. Details about these and other OAKS programs can be found in the OAKS brochure available at

Wine & Wilderness
Join us at Troutman Vineyards south of Wooster and discover Ohio’s wildlife. Relax in front of the fire with a glass of wine and enjoy the program.
Cost: $10, includes one glass of wine. Seating is limited, please call The Wilderness Center to reserve a seat.

Do Your Houseplants Hate You? 

Friday, February 15, 7:00 pm
Plants have incredible ways of communicating with each other and, more incredibly, with other life forms.

Get Buzzed!
Friday, March 15, 7:00 pm
Native bees are vital players in our landscape – learn what you can do to help pollinators in your own backyard.

The Flowers that Fly
Friday, April 19, 7:00 pm
Take a closer look at butterflies and caterpillars of our backyards.

Living with Backyard Wildlife
Friday, August 16, 7:00 pm
Learn how to live with wildlife in your backyard and meet live animal ambassadors (outside program)

Things that Go Bump in the Night
Friday, November 8, 7:00 pm
Explore the night life of the forest.


Nature Study Series: Lives of Mammals
Being mammals ourselves, we seem to have an affinity for the furry creatures that frequent Ohio’s landscape. While a few mammals are well-known backyard visitors, many are relatively unknown to most Ohioans. This series explores the lives of our furry residents and their role in Ohio’s landscape.
Cost: Classes are $10 each or enjoy the entire 6-part series for $45. Call TWC to pre-register and get your ticket, or pay at the door.

The Rise of Mammals
Tuesday, February 12, 11:00 at David YMCA, Jackson Twp.
Thursday, February 14, 6:30 pm at Local Roots, Wooster

Learn how mammals came to be and take a look at the now-extinct mammals that once roamed Ohio.

Nature’s Snack Foods
Tuesday, February 19, 11:00 at David YMCA, Jackson Twp.
Thursday, February 21, 6:30 pm at Local Roots, Wooster

Discover the diversity of small mammals from shrews to rabbits and examine the vital role they play in Ohio’s food chains.

Go Nuts!
Tuesday, February 26, 11:00 at David YMCA, Jackson Twp.
Thursday, February 28, 6:30 pm at Local Roots, Wooster

Ohio has 7 species of squirrels – can you name them all?

Stealthy, Stinky, Thespian 
Tuesday, March 5, 11:00 at David YMCA, Jackson Twp.
Thursday, March 7, 6:30 pm at Local Roots, Wooster

These three omnivores are among Ohio’s most recognizable and common backyard visitors – often thriving in urban environment.

Good Boy? – Ohio’s Canines
Tuesday, March 12, 11:00 at David YMCA, Jackson Twp.
Thursday, March 14, 6:30 pm at Local Roots, Wooster

Ohio’s canines are among the most maligned creatures in Ohio – we’ll tease out fact from fiction to understand fox and coyote natural history.

Ohio’s Comeback Kids
Tuesday, March 19, 11:00 at David YMCA, Jackson Twp.
Thursday, March 21, 6:30 pm at Local Roots, Wooster

Learn about the return of bear, bobcat, otter and deer to Ohio’s landscape.


Nature Journal – Tracking Change
Do you enjoy nature, but find yourself with lots of questions about what you are seeing? Then this is the class for you. Nature journaling can be a wonderful way to connect with nature. The skills involved – slowing down, careful observation and questioning – serve to bring nature into sharper focus. This series will use The Naturalist’s Notebook: An Observation Guide and 5-Year Calendar-Journal for Tracking Changes in the Natural World around You by Nathaniel T. Wheelwright and Bernd Heinrich as a template for our explorations.
Cost: $95 includes ‘The Naturalists Notebook,’  journal and all curriculum materials.

Introduction to Journals and Phenology
Saturday, February 16, 10:00 at The Wilderness Center
Join TWC Director Dr. Jeff Corney for an introduction to phenology and a look at how ecosystems and individuals adapt to change. You’ll receive your book, journal and ideas for getting started. Then, depending on weather, join naturalist Carrie Elvey for a short hike or wildlife observation room visit.

Friday, April 12, 1:00 at Barnes Preserve
Saturday, April 13, 10:00 at The Wilderness Center

Learn to identify spring wildflowers, record first blooms, and discuss the needs of plants and pollinators.

Friday, June 28, 1:00 at Barnes Preserve
Saturday, June 29, 10:00 at The Wilderness Center

Explore field, forest and wetland habitats and examine their similarities and differences.

Friday, September 20, 1:00 at Barnes Preserve
Saturday, September 21, 10:00 at The Wilderness Center

Learn to identify basic groups of insects and explore insect behavior.

Friday, November 8, 1:00 at Barnes Preserve
Saturday, November 9, 10:00 at The Wilderness Center

Winter is a great time to study birds. Focus on sketching and understanding bird behaviors.

Wrap-Up Party
Saturday, December 7, 10:00 at The Wilderness Center 
Bring your journals, observations and questions to share with everyone.

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