St. Joseph County Parks

Your Place for Outdoor Family Fun!
Bendix WoodsFerrettie/BaugoCrone Restoration AreaLaSalle TrailSpicer LakeSt. Patrick'sAnderson RoadChamberlain Lake
Constant Contact
Special Events:
Outdoor Elements
 
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Big Trees
Boomers & Beyond
Calendar of Events
Indiana Master Naturalist
Leisure Activities
Nature Munchkins
Outdoor Wildlife for Seniors
School & Scout
 
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Calendar of Events

October | November

For program information or reservations call 574/654-3155.


October


  • Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29              Wednesdays
  • Wednesday Walking Club
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 10 to 11:15am
  • Age 50 and older
  • Fee $18/person for 6 sessions

Boomers, meet other people interested in walking for fitness on the scenic park trails. Each walk will last 40 minutes, followed by brain-boosting paper and pencil activities from Memorial BrainWorks. Registration and payment are required by Sept. 22. (Min 5; max 20)


  • October 6, 13, 20, 27          Mondays
  • Tai Chi by the Pond
  • Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park: Moat Room
  • 10 to 11am
  • Fee: $45/person for 8 sessions

Join a certified instructor for Seated Tai Chi. All movements will be from a seated position and are ideal for those with limited mobility or who prefer not to stand for long periods. Class is outdoors; indoors in event of rain. Registration and payment are required by September 2. (Min 5; max. 20)


  • 3              Friday
  • Make your Own Scarecrow
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Van Paris Shelter
  • 6 to 8:30pm
  • Fee: $15/family

Welcome the fall season with a hayride and build your own scarecrow! Scarecrow materials will be provided, but you may bring your own outfits, hats and accessories. (One scarecrow per family, please.)  The evening includes a campfire and s’mores, too! Registration and payment are required by Sept. 30. (Min 7; max 20)


  • 3              Friday
  • October Night Prowl
  • Spicer Lake Nature Preserve
  • 7pm
  • Fee: $3/person

Join a park interpreter to discover the mysteries of nocturnal creatures and the magic of a fall evening at Spicer Lake. Enjoy apple cider and donuts after the program. Registration is required by September 29. (Min. 5; max. 15).


  • 4              Saturday
  • Natural Inks and Reed Pens
  • Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park: Baugo Station
  • 9 to 11am
  • Fee: $3/person

Discover the way people wrote for centuries, before ballpoints and texting. Use materials from nature to make ink and natural pens, then practice writing. All materials provided. Ages 8 to adult. Children will need adult help. Registration and payment required by Sept. 29. (Min. 4; max. 12)


  • 4              Saturday
  • Brownie Girl Scouts: Wonders of Water
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 9am to 12pm
  • Fee: $5/scout

Experience the many Wonders of Water that are a part of your Girl Scout Journey. Learn the amazing things water can do; become friends with a stream; meet some tiny creatures that can tell us about water pollution and ponds; learn how you can keep water clean and healthy for the world! A mid-morning snack will be provided. Registration and payment are required by September 29. (Min. 10; max. 30)


  • 5           Sunday
  • 2nd Annual ND-LEEF Science Sunday
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: ND LEEF Site
  • 1 to 4pm

Come learn about the current research at the Notre Dame Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility (ND-LEEF). Scientists will be on-site to discuss their research and answer your questions and there will also be hands-on exhibits for kids. Complimentary light
refreshments will be provided.


  • 9              Thursday
  • Fall Home School Program: Leaves are Lovely
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Glenn Bauer Shelter
  • 10 to 11:30am
  • Fee: $3/child

Welcome, home school families! Run in a leaf matching relay, do a science experiment to discover why leaves change color, and look up close to see what goes on in a leaf’s busy sugar factory. Registration is required by October 7.


  • 11           Saturday
  • Invasive Species Work Day and Seminar
  • Spicer Lake Nature Preserve: Visitor Center
  • 9am to 12pm

Join the North West IN Cooperative for a morning of invasive plant identification and removal. Dress for outdoor work and bring loppers. Registration is required by October 6. (Min.5; max.25).


  • 12           Sunday
  • Portraits in the Park
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Hurwich Shelter
  • 10am to 4pm
  • Fee:  $20/family

The colors are changing and it is the perfect season to capture photos of your beautiful family! Professional photographer Joe Colpitts will offer “Portraits in the Park.” Receive a 20-minute photo shoot, one 8x10 portrait and access to portraits to share. Additional photos can be purchased. Sessions are limited and by appointment only. Rain date is Oct 19. Registration and payment are required by Oct 8.


  • 17           Friday
  • Studebaker Trees Volunteer Clean-up Day
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Nature Center
  • 10am to 3pm

Help us preserve the historic Studebaker Trees! We will be cutting vines, shrubs and small trees within the letters. Please wear long pants, sturdy shoes and a long-sleeved shirt. Also, bring a pair of gloves. If you wish to stay for the entire day, bring a lunch.


  • 18           Saturday
  • St. Pat’s 24-hr Run
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Red Barn
  • Run begins at 8am

For information visit stpats24hour.com.


  • 25           Saturday
  • Sandhill Cranes at Jasper-Pulaski
  • Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area
  • Depart 3pm: Bendix Woods County Park, Nature Center
  • Fee: $8/person

Join park staff for a trip to Jasper-Pulaski! Bring a sack lunch for an evening dinner. You will see over a thousand birds dancing, eating and preening at dusk. Registration and payment are required by October 20. (Min.10, Max. 20).


November


  • 1              Saturday
  • Tail Waggin’ Hayride
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Otahnagon Area
  • 1 to 4pm
  • Fee: $3/person and donated pet items

Bring your dog for a tractor-drawn hayride through the crisp autumn air. Light refreshments for dogs and owners are available for purchase. Pet-related donations aid Pets Connect! Pets must be on a 6-foot leash.


  • 1              Saturday
  • Women Experience the Outdoors: Sandhill Cranes at Jasper-Pulaski
  • Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area
  • Depart 3pm: Bendix Woods County Park Nature Center
  • Fee: $8/person

This trip is designed for women who want to learn about the life cycle of the sandhill cranes and their massive fall migration. Bring a sack lunch for an evening meal and save room for homemade baked goods! Registration and payment are required by October 27. (Min.10, Max. 20).


  • 2              Sunday
  • Run Up Cyclocross
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Glenn Bauer Shelter

For more information visit www.runupcx.com or Run Up Cyclocross on Facebook.


  • 7              Friday
  • Studebaker Trees Volunteer Clean-up Day
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Nature Center
  • 10am to 3pm

Help us preserve the historic Studebaker Trees! We will be cutting vines, shrubs and small trees within the letters. Please wear long pants, sturdy shoes and a long-sleeved shirt. Also, bring a pair of gloves. If you wish to stay for the entire day, bring a lunch.


  • 8              Saturday
  • Geocache Chili Dump
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: White Barn Harvest Room
  • GPS coordinates: N 41° 45.428’, W 086° 16.207’
  • 1 to 5pm
  • Fee:  $5/person

Bring some chili to contribute to the lunch pot and learn how to use a GPS device on a high-tech “treasure hunt” to find caches at St. Patrick’s and throughout the world! A special geocache course and prizes will be set up just for this event! Bowls, spoons, fixin’s and drinks provided. Registration is required by November 5. (Min. 4; max. 15)


  • 13           Thursday
  • Fall Home School Program: Seeds are Super
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Glenn Bauer Shelter
  • 10 to 11:30am
  • Fee: $3/child

Welcome, home school families! Find out what seeds need to grow as you play Maple Seed Mix-Up, compete in the Seed Olympics, and taste a few delicious wild seeds! Registration is required by November 11.


  • 15           Saturday
  • Pottery Made Easy
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 9am to noon
  • Fee: $10/person

Join a local pottery craftsperson to learn the “slump” method of pottery making. Make a bowl, pot or cup using self-hardening clay that does not require kiln firing. All materials provided. Registration and payment are required by November 12. (Min. 6; max. 12)


Other Park Programs


Coming this fall...Indiana Master Naturalist!

(IMN) Program provides participants (18 years or older) with hands-on classes about the natural history and resources of Indiana. This 11-week course will offer sessions on soils, water, botany, birds, insects/spiders and much more! Sessions will be presented by area specialists/educators at the county parks and other parks in the county. In addition to completing the required classes, participants will also volunteer an equivalent number of hours to receive the Indiana Master Naturalist certification. Weekly evening classes will be scheduled from September through November.

Click here for a Indiana Master Naturalist brochure.


Nature Munchkins

Nature Munchkins is designed for parents or grandparents to discover nature with their 3- to 4-year old. The sessions are on Thursdays from 9:30 to 11am at St. Patrick’s County Park. The fee is $5 per adult/child and $3 for a second child, or register for four sessions for $16. Advance registration and payment are required. (Min. 5; max. 10) Siblings outside of the age bracket are not allowed to attend.

  • September 25: Bugs
  • October 16: Creepy Critters
  • November 13: Animals Prepare for Winter
  • December  18: Winter Birds

Boomers & Beyond:

Outdoor Wild Life Series (O.W.L.S)
“Nature Provides” Natural History Series
Programs for those age 50 and better!
 
What is out there? How does it survive? Nature provides all that wild animals and humans need! Learn what wildlife lives in Northern Indiana; how fur traders and pioneers lived when our region was still “wild” and how Mother Nature, even during brutal winters, provides for wild creatures.
    
Fee: $5/person/program OR $30 for the entire 7-week program series. Registration and payment required the Friday before each program. Programs are from 2 to 3pm on Tuesdays. Max. 12 for each program.

Click here for a Boomers & Beyond brochure.

The How and Why of Migration
September 16
St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
Do earthworms migrate? Why do some birds stay for the winter when they could just fly off?  How do birds, butterflies and other wild creatures find their way? Find out the real reasons that creatures undertake these sometimes arduous journeys, and how they know where they are going!

Voyageurs and the Fur Trade
September 23
Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park: Baugo Station: Astor Room
Who were the voyageurs? What drew them to this area? What did they do and where did they go when the weather became cold and the water-ways were impassable? Come discover what life was like for this jovial group of men.

How Do They Do It?  Winter Survival
September 30
Bendix Woods County Park: Nature Center
Last year’s winter cold rewrote the record books! Yet, when spring came, the frogs, squirrels, insects, turtles, fish and even the resident birds seemed no worse for wear. Find out: how did they survive the record cold? When is a harsh winter a GOOD thing?

 The Pioneers – How did they do that?
October 7
Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park: Baugo Station: Astor Room
Staying warm, having enough food, meeting just basic needs, how did the pioneers do this? We’ll explore how the pioneers met their most basic needs when they first settled in this area.

Fall Trees
October 14
Spicer Lake Nature Preserve: Visitor Center
Enjoy a fall foliage hike with a focus on using bark, leaves and form to identify a selection of native trees.

Hibernation, what is it all about?
October 21
St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
There are various myths told about animals who hibernate but are they really true? A park interpreter will discuss these tales and also talk about other means of winter sleep with the various animals found in Michiana.

Fruits of Fall  
October 28
Bendix Woods County Park: Nature Center
From walnuts and persimmons to paw paws and hickory nuts, nature provides a bounty of wild edibles in the fall. Learn how to use a few of these to prepare tasty treats, and sample the delicious results!


Outdoor Wild Life for Seniors (O.W.L.S)

  • Tuesday, June 17
  • A Hike to Spicer Lake
  • Spicer Lake Nature Preserve: Visitor Center
  • 11am
  • Fee: $5/participant

Enjoy a leisurely hike along the boardwalk at Spicer Lake and learn what a great habitat a wetland can be! Bring a sack lunch if you wish, for a picnic after the program.

  • Tuesday, July 22
  • From Farm to County Park
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Harvest Room
  • 11am
  • Fee: $5/participant

Come hear the story of St. Patrick’s County Park and how it went from a working farm owned by the Sisters of the Holy Cross to a county park enjoyed by residents today. Bring a sack lunch if you wish, for a picnic after the program.

  • Tuesday, August 19
  • Voyageurs and the Fur Trade
  • 11am
  • Fee: $5/participant

Who were the voyageurs? Come learn how this jovial group of men assisted in the success of the fur trade. Bring a sack lunch if you wish, for a picnic after the program.