NaturE-mail from Ottawa County Parks

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Ottawa Sands Map

Zumbathon to Secure Ottawa Sands

November 10, 9:00 AM- 11:00 AM at Powerhouse Gym of Grand Haven

The Powerhouse Gym of Grand Haven is hosting a Zumbathon event on November 10 to support the Ottawa Sands campaign. A Zumbathon is a dance party with several different instructors teaching and participants dancing for all or any of the scheduled time.  $10 per person. All proceeds are earmarked to be given to the Land Conservancy to help secure funding for the Ottawa Sands Park. Can’t make it, but would like to support the campaign? Click here.

Did you know? Ottawa County Parks was only able to secure half of the funding needed to purchase Ottawa Sands. The Land Conservancy of West Michigan secured a $4 million loan to purchase and temporarily hold half of the property for us. Now the loan must be repaid to protect all 345 acres of Ottawa Sands and ensure access for all. To complete the project, public support is needed.


Outdoor Survival at Loutit Library

Come and learn basic first aid, safety, and outdoor survival skills at the Loutit Library. Best for grades 7-12.

Presented as a part of the Big Read Lakeshore. For more information, go to

Registration required

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterflies, Migration & Human Impact 

November 2, 7:00 PM- 9:00 PM at Montcalm Area Career Center 

Each fall, millions of monarch butterflies from the United States and Canada embark on an arduous journey to the forests of Michoacán, Mexico. During this incredible journey of more than 2,000 miles, monarchs encounter countless obstacles. 

Join Dr. Stephen Malcolm, chemical ecologist and professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Western Michigan University, as he explores how and why monarchs migrate and the impact of the threats they face as they negotiate ecosystems dominated by human activities. 

Registration encouraged

Spring Lake Library Logo

Winter Birding in Ottawa County

November 8, 7:00 PM- 8:00 PM at Spring Lake Library

When we think of birding, we often think of spring, of singing birds and nesting. However, the excitement of birding can be experienced at any season!

Curtis Dykstra, Parks Naturalist with Ottawa County Parks, will introduce you to some local winter-time birding hotspots and the birds you should be looking for.

No registration required. 

This Week's Programs & Events

Big Tree Hunt

November 3, 2:00 PM- 3:30 PM at Hemlock Crossing

Michigan's 14th Biennial Michigan Big Tree Hunt contest is underway!

Join us on a walk to learn how to be involved in this statewide effort to track vital and historical living tees and how to measure and record your own big trees Ottawa County.

No registration required.

Tall Trees

Ecotherapy & Being Present

November 6, 7:00 PM- 8:30 PM at Hemlock Crossing

Have you ever carried work/home stresses with you into the woods? Join us as we take advantage of a cool fall evening to learn some mindfulness activities designed to get you in touch with nature.

A red light headlamp or flashlight is recommended. A few will be available to borrow. Designed for ages 16+

Registration required.

Lone Walker

Upcoming Programs & Workshops

Lake Watch Birding

November 10, 9:00 AM- 12:00 PM at Holland State Park

Join us at for a morning of watching migration along the shores of Lake Michigan! Waterfowl, gulls and more will be the focus of this stationary bird outing.

Recreational passport required to park at Holland State Park.

Feel free to join us at any time.

No registration required.

Red-breasted Merganser

Wildlife Encounter - Owls: Hunters in the Night

November 10, 3:00 PM- 4:00 PM at Hemlock Crossing

Owls fascinate and amaze us with their nocturnal lifestyles. Venture into the amazing world of our local owls by learning their natural history and identification along with some intriguing facts on how they function at night.

The Wildlife Encounters series aim to introduce people to the amazing natural history of the wildlife found in our own yards, parks and region. These 30-45 minute presentations are geared for older children and adults. An optional guided nature hike or local field trip will follow after the program.

No registration required. 

Great Horned Owl

Astronomy at the Nature Education Center: Telescope Basics

November 10, 7:00 PM- 8:00 PM at Hemlock Crossing  

Thinking of giving a telescope as a Christmas gift? Come and learn telescope basics to help you pick the right instrument for the lucky recipient.

After the presentation, the Shoreline Amateur Astronomical Association (SAAA) will have telescopes available for observing the fall skies (weather permitting).

No registration required.


Through Hike at Ottawa Sands

November 11, 2:00 PM- 4:30 PM at Ottawa Sands

Get out and enjoy the fall colors as you venture ALL THE WAY THROUGH these amazing parks! A guide will lead you through, so you'll have all the more reason to soak in the beauty and uniqueness of each park.

Moderate terrain includes dirt and mowed grass trails, some hills and some low areas that may be muddy. Round Trip: ~3.0 miles

Registration required.

Ottawa Sands

Birding Walk

November 14, 10:00 AM- 12:00 PM at Grand River Park

Whether you are an avid birder or are just desiring to experience birds beyond your backyard, join us as we walk for warblers and search for sparrows on these birding walks highlighting parks all around the county. 

Easy to moderate terrain includes some paved walkway and some dirt and mowed grass pathways. Waterproof footwear may be helpful on dewy mornings.

No registration required.

Tot Time

November 15, 9:45 AM- 10:45 AM at Hemlock Crossing  

A monthly program designed especially for our littlest visitors! Miss Jessi invites Tots age 0-3 years, along with a caregiver, to explore our natural world with various books, music and movement, age appropriate activities, and of course, a group walk along a stroller and wagon friendly path.

Each month will bring new adventures and discoveries as the seasons change!

Registration required.

Fall Colors