Announcements & News

Brood X is coming! - Thursday, March 4, 2021

You may have heard some exciting news “buzzing” around lately…the cicadas are coming! This year is a special year, Brood X, 17-year periodical cicadas will emerge as well as our annual dog day cicadas. These cicadas are ½”-1” smaller in size than our annual cicadas. They are also black and orange in color compared to the greenish colored cicadas we’re used to seeing. Brood X cicadas will emerge when the soil at 4 inches depth reaches approximately 64 degrees, usually after a nice warm rain. In wet, muddy areas when preparing to emerge, the nymphs will form mud chimneys that prevent their hole from backfilling. These mud chimneys are a sign of where cicadas are under the ground and that they will be emerging soon.

The cicada lifecycle has 3 stages: eggs, nymphs, and adults. After spending a long period underground as nymphs, the cicadas will emerge and molt one last time before becoming adults. Adult cicadas don’t bite, and have one mission: reproduce as quickly as possible. What better way to woo a mate than to sing at the top or your lungs, or in a cicada’s case, at the top of their tymbal! Cicadas have a special organ, the tymbal, that they flex to produce the loud buzzing noise we’re familiar with.

All of Brood X will emerge in the same week or two, meaning it will be cicada mania! Don’t worry, cicadas aren’t locusts which means they don’t have chewing mouth parts, so your garden crops are safe. Cicadas have sucking, straw-like mouth parts that they use to pierce trees and eat fluids from tree twigs and woody shrubs. Typically, any damage to trees from cicadas comes from the egg laying process. Mature trees will experience very minimal damage from cicadas, however, if you’re planning to plant a new tree this spring it might be best to wait until after the cicadas have passed through. If you have young trees that you’re worried about, covering them with netting will prevent cicadas from laying eggs in the branches.

This phenomenon won’t happen again for another 17 years, in 2038. While they may be noisy, cicadas are beneficial. They prune mature trees, aerate the soil, and once they die, their bodies serve as an important source of nitrogen for growing trees. They also provide a food source for animals with insectivorous diets such as birds, small mammals, and many reptiles.

 Be sure to register for DCP’s upcoming program: Cicada Safari! Sign up today at or call 937-548-0165 for more information.

We are open - Monday, June 15, 2020

COVID-19 Update: May 27, 2020

The continued impact of COVID-19 forces us all to be in a state of fluid decision-making.  The Darke County Park District is thinking of you all during this difficult time and we hope you are able to utilize some of the Preserves and Trails near you to ease some stress.  The Staff and Board are monitoring the situation in an effort to keep the trails open and safe for all users during this vitally important time.  
Beginning June 1, in compliance with Governor DeWine's Responsible RestartOhio requirements and recommended best interests, the Nature Education Center will begin to open to the public with some limitations. The Park District staff will be implementing and following the below protocols as put forth by the Governor:
Visitor’s must not enter if they are experiencing ANY symptoms of COVID-19
Nature Center Hours will be temporarily Mon-Fri 10a-4p
A minimum of 6’ between people will be maintained at all times (family units are exempt within the unit, but must enforce between other visitors)
All staff and volunteers will be wearing facial coverings and it is strongly requested of any visitors (over the age of 2) to do so as well while within the building.
Hand sanitizing will be available upon entry to the building
The building will have a one-way flow that visitors will be asked to follow
The gift shop will not be open for browsing, but purchases can be made. (staff/volunteers will retrieve the item from the shop and bring to you at the front window.
Restrooms will be open, but if at all possible, it is requested that 6’ distance be maintained.
During high volume times, visitors may be asked to stagger entrance.
Currently, all programs, events and room-rental requests have been cancelled during this time.  The shelter house and picnic tables at Shawnee Prairie are now OPEN on a first come first served with a strict rule of 6’ distancing be maintained.  Monthly club/organization meetings that are already scheduled have been contacted with special rules.
The trails and preserves remain OPEN, it is vital that everyone practices "physical distancing" at all times while in the preserves and/or trails.  Please provide other users at least 6 feet space between parties, be sure to alert others of your approach and make room for all.  
Staff is now working on-site throughout the workweek, so if you have questions, concerns of other needs, give us a call.  If you notice any concern, be it a trail blockage or over-crowding, please contact us via email or phone (937-548-0165) and we will get back with you ASAP.  
Throughout this all, we hope to continue to be a place for you to connect to the natural world, relax, exercise and enjoy the summer’s sun.  By working together, we will get through this.  Stay safe and we'll see you on the trails (from 6' away)!

Autumn Update - Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Here Comes Autumn!
If you haven't been on the trails recently, you are missing out!  The autumn colors are starting to pop, the goldenrods and asters are still blooming and the air has that unique fall "crispness"!  Trails will remain OPEN Dawn-Dusk 7 days a week.  
Darke County Parks' is operating with a variety of COVID-19 precautions in place, including social distancing and/or mask usage.  All programs have specific requirements and require that you register for them (even though most are still free of charge) in order to assist with crowd size.   Please be sure to read all information provided at the time of registration and keep an eye out for future emails to update you as the program approaches. 
Be sure to check out our virtual programming on FaceBook or Youtube; we've been updating them weekly! 
Thank you for your cooperation and we'll see you on the trails! 

Digital Darke County Parks - Monday, August 3, 2020

With the unfortunate circumstances of COVID-19, we’ve not been able to interact with everyone and get them into nature as we normally would… so we’ve been working hard to bring nature to YOU! “Digital Darke County Parks” was launched in March and has been producing videos on a variety of subjects about the nature of Darke County and found within the District while also offering summer camps digitally. With over 500minutes of video content for you to enjoy, there is plenty to discover…. and more on the way!

Digital Darke County Parks will continue for the foreseeable future and can be found on our Facebook or our Youtube. We hope these little slices of nature give you a chance to enjoy nature in your backyard and hope they may encourage you to visit your local Darke County Park this season!

Programming on Hold and/or Virtual - Monday, June 15, 2020

Please be aware:
As we navigate through these strange times during the COVID pandemic, we have suspended in-person programming in most cases.  We are planning and beginning to offer virtual programming and some remote programming, so keep an eye out for those offerings.  We thank you for your patience as we make the needed adjustments for this time and we look forward to joining you on the trail (virtually or otherwise) very soon.  



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