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BGSU graduate students team up with city to offer environmental history lesson

'Stories in the Woods' shares environmental history of the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve

Bowling Green State University graduate students have teamed up with the city of Bowling Green’s Parks and Recreation to offer the community a fascinating environmental history lesson on the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve.

Funded by a grant from Ohio Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, graduate students in Dr. Amilcar Challu’s environmental history seminar class developed "Stories in the Woods," a community-based history that is told along the preserve’s hiking trails.

From April 10 to May 31, 10 signs equipped with scannable QR codes will offer historical narratives about the park. From indigenous occupation to the present preserve, QR codes will connect visitors via their smartphones to the “Stories in the Woods” website, providing more information, primary sources and a short reflection. People of all ages are invited to visit the preserve for fresh air, captivating stories and a rejuvenating walk in the woods.

In addition, Dani Tippmann, plant tradition bearer of the Myaamia Nation, and city park naturalists, Chris Gajewicz and Cinda Stutzman, will host the webinar “Honoring Our Plants” from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21. Tippmann will share ecological information about the native and non-native plants in St. John’s Woods through a webinar

The Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve was originally established as a reserve freshwater well field for municipal use in 1946 but was never used. The preserve eventually became the Wintergarden Recreation Area. Current acreage of the preserve includes a significant portion of land once owned by S. W. St. John, an early Bowling Green resident, attorney and gentleman farmer. By the 1990s, the land, then known as Wintergarden Park, changed its focus to environmental education and natural resources preservation and management. Now, the nature preserve encompasses more than 120 acres of prairie, savanna and swamp forests along with trails designed for passive recreation activities and nature observation.

Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve is unique in that it is a semi-urban preserve and park which actively manages and maintains land with a high degree of environmental value and offers professional outdoor environmental educational services to the community.

Follow the project on Twitter using the hashtag #StoriesInTheWoods or learn more on the Stories in the Woods blog.

Media Contact | Michael Bratton | mbratto@bgsu.edu | 419-372-6349