In addition to providing more than 70 miles of trails open dawn to dusk, ACRES offers a variety of hikes & events throughout our region, all year long.

ACRES events are held rain or shine, sleet or snow. We love sharing the natural world with you in all seasons.

photo by Greg Burns

ACRES Share the Trails Hike – Free to the public, donations encouraged. These are casual, easy-going, social hikes aimed to welcome new visitors to the preserves, inviting new people to join ACRES.

Saturday, March 3, 10 am – noon
LAGRANGE  COUNTY | Maple Wood Nature Preserve
4550 E. 100 S, LaGrange, IN 46761

Hike two preserves in one visit: ACRES’ preserve is adjacent to and shares trails with the LaGrange County Parks Nature Preserve. The county preserve has a visitor center and a maple syrup camp. Hosted by ACRES volunteers.

If you’d like to make a day of it, you can join the fast-paced Swift Grand Tour that leaves Maple Wood after a quick break. Pack a sack lunch, take a lunch break in Maple Wood’s Visitor Center. Then caravan with ACRES volunteer Janelle to Fawn River Nature preserve and on from there. See March 3 Swift Grand Tour event for details.

ACRES Swift Grand Tour – Three preserves

Join ACRES volunteer Janelle Windsor for this fast-paced multi-preserve trek, caravanning and possibly ride-sharing in between. You’ll get an overview of a three preserves—and a workout. You’re welcome to drop to your own pace and to skip parts of the tour as needed.

If you’d like to carpool for this Swift Grand Tour and the preceding Share the Trails hike, leaving from the Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve in Huntertown, please email Janelle at [email protected]

Saturday, March 3, 1:30 – 5 pm
LAGRANGE COUNTY | Fawn River Nature Preserve
just west of 101000 E. 800 N., Orland, IN 46776

Then caravan to Beechwood Nature Preserve, then Robb Hidden Canyon for a total of 4.5+ miles at a fast pace.

If you’d like to make a day of it, pack a sack lunch and begin with the casual Share the Trails hike at Maple Wood Nature Preserve at 10 am (see above), take a break afterward for lunch in Maple Wood’s Visitor Center, then caravan with Janelle to Fawn River Nature preserve and on from there.

ASHERWOOD MAPLE SYRUP MAKING & PANCAKE BREAKFAST FOR ACRES MEMBERS

Saturday, March 10, 9 am – noon
WABASH COUNTY | Asherwood Environmental Center
7496 W SR 124, Wabash, IN 46992

Can you smell the warm pancakes and fresh-made syrup? Feel the cool, crisp air of the winter woods on your cheek? It’s sugar bush season! You’re invited to breakfast and a guided tour of ACRES’ maple sugaring operation. Volunteers needed. See page 18 for details. Presented by Bill Harmsen and Jason Kissel.

No reservations required. $5/person, children under 5 free. Come early or stay late and explore this incredible place that your membership helps protect.

ACRES Spring Cleaning Hike Series, 1
Tuesday, March 13, 10:30 – 12:30
ALLEN COUNTY | Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve
1802 Chapman Road, Huntertown, IN 46748

The cure for spring fever is here: explore the preserves and lend a hand cleaning up litter in good company. Will you spot early spring wildflowers along the way? Gloves and bags provided. You bring the good spirits. Hosted by Kelly Shepherd.

The ACRES Office is on this preserve, overlooking Cedar Creek from an 80-foot ravine that you’ve got to see to believe. Will you lend a hand taking care of this land?

Share the Trails Guide Seminar
Saturday, March 17, 10 am – noon

Calling all Share the Trails volunteers—and outgoing, enthusiastic folks who’d like to join in the fun of leading people through the preserves, inviting them to join ACRES: we’re gathering to welcome new volunteers, review program guidelines and updates and share our experiences.

Share your approach to leading people along the trail and discover hiking style and tips and tricks that new volunteers have brought to ACRES, including speedy wellness walks and a few ways to incorporate sharing nature literature and the arts and humanities into your hikes. How do you lead folks through the forest? Laughing, smiling and swapping tales along the way!

Seminar participants will receive a small gift as a token of appreciation. Your work as a Share the Trail guide is vital to ACRES’ success in growing participation through membership, donations and volunteerism. You connect people to the land and to the community of folks who protect it. Thank you!

Tai Chi for Members
Saturday, March 17, 2 pm
Allen COUNTY | Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve
1802 Chapman Road, Huntertown, IN 46748

Tai Chi instructor Hitomi Griswold will lead you through this gentle, energizing practice on a beautiful preserve. All levels. Space is limited. RSVP to [email protected] or 260-637-2273.

Thank you, ACRES members, for your support. Ready to participate in ACRES? Annual membership starts at $25. 

ACRES Spring Cleaning Hike Series, 2
Tuesday, March 20, 10:30 – 12:30
NOBLE COUNTY | Detering Nature Preserve
1421 Kammerer Road, Kendallville, IN 46755

The cure for spring fever is here: explore this preserve, lending a hand picking up litter in good company. What signs of early spring will you spot? Gloves and bags provided. You bring the good spirits. Hosted by Kelly Shepherd.

As an urban preserve, this place accumulates debris and garbage from surrounding mixed use. Will you help ACRES protect this community gem?

 ACRES Spring Cleaning Hike Series, 3
Tuesday, March 27, 10:30 – 12:30
KOSCIUSKO COUNTY | Wayne Township Prairie, a closed preserve
just west of Eastlake Skating Center, 3010 Frontage Road, Warsaw, IN 46580

The cure for spring fever is here: explore this preserve and lend a hand cleaning up litter in good company. Gloves and bags provided. Will you bring the good spirits? Hosted by Kelly Shepherd.

This closed preserve protects an extremely rare and ecologically significant remnant of native prairie struggling to survive amid Warsaw’s commercial and residential space. The 7-acre prairie found in the recently-acquired Wayne Township Property along U.S. 30 may be the easternmost example of original Midwest prairie grassland.

As an urban preserve, this place requires a good spring cleaning; debris and garbage from surrounding mixed use and high density development has blown in. Will you help ACRES protect and restore this ecological gem? 

ACRES Share the Trails | Ruth Kern Woodland Preserve
Saturday, April 7, 10 am – noon
FULTON COUNTY | Ruth Kern Woodland Preserve
3681 W. 450 N, Rochester, IN 46975

Explore with spirited land donor, Shirley Needham. Discover this place’s treasures, unique history and her family’s deep love of land.

(See the Swift Grand Tour below if you’re interested in a FAST hiking series immediately following this casual walk.)

Share the Trails hikes are free to the public and donations encouraged. This is a casual, easy-going, social hike to welcome new visitors to the preserves, inviting new people to join ACRES.

ACRES Swift Grand Tour | Kosciusko County

Join ACRES volunteer Janelle Windsor for a fast-paced multi-preserve trek, caravanning and possibly ride-sharing in between. This excursion is unique—and very fast. You’ll get an overview of the preserves—and a workout. You’re welcome to drop to your own pace and to skip parts of the tour as needed.

If you’d like to carpool for both April 7 events, leaving from the Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve in Huntertown, please email Janelle at [email protected]

Saturday, April 7, 1 – 3 pm
KOSCIUSKO COUNTY | Bock Nature Preserve
11630 S. SR 14, Akron, IN 46910
Then caravan to Wildwood for a total of 5.3+ miles at a fast pace.

If you’d like to make a day of it (and add more miles!), pack a sack lunch and begin with the casual Share the Trails hike at Ruth Kern Woodland Preserve at 10 am (see event above), take a break afterward for lunch, then caravan with Janelle to Bock Nature Preserve, followed by Wildwood. Shwew!

ACRES Wing Have Adopt-a-Tree Spring Festival
Saturday, April 14, 10 am – 2 pm
STEUBEN COUNTY | Wing Haven
180 W. 400 N, Angola, IN 46703

Bring the whole crew out to make a nature journal and trail mix, share a wild rumpus hike and a listening walk and bring home a tree to plant.

See our 200-Year Ecological Reflections art submission for 2018: a hand-sketched map of Wing Haven by Adam Johnson of Yonder Clothing Co.

Hosted by Lettie Haver and ACRES volunteers

ACRES Member “Pots and Potluck”
Thursday, April 19, 6 pm
ALLEN COUNTY | Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve
1802 Chapman Road, Huntertown, IN 46748

Break bread and celebrate spring with fellow members! We will provide the entrée; last names A-L please bring a side dish, and M-Z a dessert. Discuss readings from various writers. Take home a native plant or tree.

Hosted by Theresa Ransbottom. Space is limited. RSVP to [email protected] or 260-637-2273.

Rip Rap Rocking Workday
Saturday, April 21, 9 am
WABASH COUNTY | Asherwood Environmental Center
7496 W SR 124, Wabash, IN 46992

Help replace rip rap rocks that washed away when a preserve pond overflowed.

Hosted by Bill Harmsen, Asherwood Caretaker and Jason Kissel, Executive Director.

ACRES Member Wildflower Hike
Sunday, April 22, 2 pm
WABASH COUNTY | Kokiwanee
5825 E 50 S, Lagro, IN 46941

Discover waterfalls, and a diversity of wildflowers on what was once a Girl Scout camp.

Hosted by Dave Hicks, who has conducted plant species inventories here.

Space is limited. RSVP to [email protected] or 260-637-2273.

Not a member yet? You can join and help protect land for $25 annually: acreslandtrust.org/join.

ACRES Swift Grand Tour | Wildflower wonders

Join ACRES volunteer Janelle Windsor for a fast-paced multi-preserve trek, caravanning and possibly ride-sharing in between. This excursion is unique—and very fast. You’ll get an overview of the preserves—and a workout. You’re welcome to drop to your own pace and to skip parts of the tour as needed.

If you’d like to carpool, leaving from the Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve in Huntertown, please email Janelle at [email protected]

Saturday, April 28, 1 – 3:30 pm
NOBLE COUNTY | Edna W. Spurgeon Woodland Reserve
9478 N. 600 W, Ligonier, IN 46767

Then caravan to Lloyd Bender Memorial Forest, then to the Evelyn and Wendell Dygert Nature Preserve for a total of 4+ miles at a fast pace.

Spring wildflowers are expected to be profuse, blanketing these preserves. Will you keep the speedy pace—or will you stop to admire these natural wonders? Either way, your endorphins are sure to reward you for the journey. Happy trails!

Learn about the wildflowers of Spurgeon and Bender: https://acreslandtrust.org/exploring-preserves-anticipating-spring-wildflowers/

ACRES Share the Trails | Evelyn and Wendell Dygert Nature Preserve
Saturday, May 3, 10 am – noon
WHITLEY COUNTY | Evelyn and Wendell Dygert Nature Preserve
4245 N. 50 W, Columbia City, IN 46725

Expect an abundance of wildflowers: Trillium blanket this forest floor at the first of May. Enjoy!

Share the Trails hikes are free to the public and donations encouraged. This is a casual, easy-going, social hike to welcome new visitors to the preserves, inviting new people to join ACRES.

ACRES Members Wildflower & Geology Hike
Saturday, May 5, 3 pm
NOBLE COUNTY | Lloyd W. Bender Memorial Forest
1891 N. River Road W, Albion, IN 46701

Here, you’ll find diverse habitats and wildflowers that you won’t see in many other ACRES preserves.

Hosted by John J. Smith and Tony Fleming. Space is limited. RSVP to [email protected] or 260-637-2273.

Ready to become an ACRES member to help protect the places you love? You can join for $25 annually: acreslandtrust.org/join.

Read Smith’s 2015 article featuring the wildflowers of some of his favorite preserves, including Bender.

Kokiwanee Spring Celebration
Sunday, May 6, 1 – 4 pm
WABASH COUNTY | Kokiwanee
5825 E 50 S, Lagro, IN 46941

ACRES volunteers have been hard-at-work making repairs to the pavilion and bridges at this former Girl Scout camp. Join us for a spring celebration that features live music and guided hikes that explore the waterfalls and wildflowers found here. A special thanks to Morsches Builders Mart and the Community Foundation of Wabash County for their support of the repairs and event.

ACRES Member Forest Bathing  Friday, May 11, 6 pm
ALLEN COUNTY | Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve
1802 Chapman Road, Huntertown, IN, 46748

Explore the preserve, following certified forest therapist Christy Thomson’s playful prompts, engaging your sense of wonder, inviting renewal and restoration.

Space is limited. RSVP to [email protected] or 260-637-2273.

Would you like to be an ACRES member? You can help protect the places you love and share some cool benefits for $25 annually: acreslandtrust.org/join.

 

ACRES Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
Thursday, May 10, 6 – 8 pm
ALLEN COUNTY | Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve, Dustin Barn
1802 Chapman Road, Huntertown, IN 46748

The Barn entrance is east of the main drive.

All volunteers welcome. Spend some time getting to know new and seasoned volunteers as we celebrate your efforts and show our appreciation of your time and talents. Dinner compliments of ACRES’ staff.

RSVP by May 3 to [email protected] or call 260-637-2273, ext 4.

ACRES Zoo Family Play Day – Zoo Kids for Nature Passport holders only 
Saturday, May 12, 1 – 4 pm
ALLEN COUNTY | Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve, Dustin Barn
1802 Chapman Road, Huntertown, IN 46748

The Barn entrance is east of the main drive.

Make your own nature journal, trail mix and more. Trek the trails on your scavenger hunt, using your journal to track what you see, hear and smell along the way.

Great American Cleanup
Saturday, May 19, 10 am
Mengerson Nature Reserve
5895 Stellhorn Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46815

Join fellow ACRES volunteers as part of the City of Fort Wayne’s city-wide workday to clean up garbage and debris in this popular urban preserve. 

ACRES’ National Trails Day Celebration
New and current members receive a free water bottle
Saturday, June 2, 1 pm
WABASH COUNTY | Asherwood Environmental Center
7496 W SR 124, Wabash, IN 46992

Trek the trails with fellow ACRES lovers, then become a member to participate in preservation all year long. All members–new and current–bring home a complimentary ACRES water bottle, valued at $10.

Birding for Beginners
Saturday, June 2, throughout our region

Are you a backyard birder? New to birding? Join your local Audubon Chapter for tips and tricks on spotting winged wonders, all in preparation for ACRES Land Trust’s June 3-9 Bird Blitz on ACRES preserves near you. More on Bird Blitz: acreslandtrust.org/birdblitz

ADAMS COUNTY | Limberlost State Historic Site Visitor Center
200 6th St, Geneva, IN 46740
9 – 10 am presentation, followed by a birding hike through Loblolly Marsh. Bring your own binoculars.
Presented by Robert Cooper Audubon Society

ALLEN COUNTY | Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve
1802 Chapman Road, Huntertown, IN 46748
9 am – noon
Presented by the Tippecanoe Audubon Society

ELKHART COUNTY | Bittersweet Branch Public Library, Zimmerman Room
602 N Bittersweet Rd, Mishawaka, IN 46544
Presented by the South Bend-Elkhart Audubon Society
1 – 4 pm

WABASH COUNTY | Asherwood
7496 W. SR 124, Wabash, IN 46992
Presented by the Mississenewa Audubon Club
8 am – noon

 

In addition to our public hikes & events, we also offer guided hikes and presentations to private groups. From youth groups, to senior clubs, we’d love to share the trails and our story with you and your group!