Natural History Tours

Monday, September 9 at 5:00 pm – Friday, September 13 at 10:00 am

Explore the rich natural and cultural heritage of Ohio’s Amish Country. Through field trip excursions and on-site presentations, this small group tour will teach you about geology, watersheds and the plants and animals that make Holmes County all while learning about and enjoying the Amish culture.

Trip Highlights

  • Explore wetland and streams to discover the delicate balance that supports an abundance of life in the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area.
  • Explore local geology, land use patterns and a traditional Amish farm.
  • Visit locally-owned sawmill, lumberyard, and furniture manufacturer to experience the sustainable forestry industry from tree to table.
  • Experience the idyllic setting of Ohio’s Amish Country and enjoy food specialties of the region.

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Day 1 – Monday, September 9
Arrival, welcome, and orientation

Arrive and check-in at Holmes with a View (HWV). This beautiful inn sits among the rolling hills of unglaciated Ohio, just outside the small town of Charm. Surrounded by Amish farms, it’s an idyllic setting for our home base.  Check-in between 3:00 and 5:00 at unit 3 (watch for signs). We’ll have a traditional “Haystack Dinner” at HWV at 5:30 as we get to know each other. Haystack dinners are a local tradition, often used as a fundraiser for Amish schools, churches and community projects. We’ll end the evening with Amish made pies and an introduction to Holmes County and the Amish culture.

Day 2 – Tuesday, September 10
Geology, land use, Amish farming

Breakfast at 7:00 at HWV. This morning, we’ll take a scenic drive through Holmes County focusing on glacial geology and land use patterns. We’ll visit The Wilderness Center for a picnic lunch and look at Ohio’s prairie peninsula and the influence of prairie habitat in Ohio. In the afternoon, we will visit Yoder’s Amish Home for a look at a traditional Amish homestead, including the barn, built in 1885 which is home to a lovely colony of barn swallows (and more traditional farm animals as well). We’ll spend a relaxing hour in Walnut Creek, touring shops or just taking in the view before our dinner at Der Dutchman.  In the evening we’ll enjoy a relaxing campfire and astronomy lesson (with s’mores).



Day 3 – Wednesday, September 11
Wetlands and wildlife

This morning we’ll depart at 7:30 for breakfast at the Salt Creek Café. After breakfast, we’ll explore the café’s namesake. We’ll have an opportunity to wade in Salt Creek, looking for fish and other small creatures. This is an easy walk and small stream, with water no more than ankle deep. You can bring old sneakers or rubber boots to venture in or investigate from the bank.  We’ll continue our watershed exploration with a visit to the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area and Brown’s Bog. The Killbuck Marsh is the largest inland wetland in the state and is home to large overwintering populations of waterfowl and sandhill cranes, and an important breeding grounds for prothonotary warblers and other songbirds. We’ll have a picnic lunch along the way and end the afternoon wine tasting at Troutman Vineyards, where we’ll discuss geobotany and climate. Dinner at HWV with homemade ice cream and a guest speaker on Holmes County history and culture.


Day 4 – Thursday, September 12
Forests and local economy

Breakfast at HWV. Today we’ll look at Ohio’s Forests and their impact on the local economy. Holmes County is about 34% forested, and there are around 500 local wood shops. We’ll start the day with a visit to Johnson’s Wood, an excellent remnant of intact old-growth forest. We’ll then tour a local sawmill/lumber yard and local furniture shop to see the timbering process from tree to table. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch in Mt Hope, a great place to “watch the world go by”.  In the afternoon, we’ll take a scenic drive back to HWV with a visit to an Amish bulk food store to stock up on snacks for the trip home. After a short rest at HWV, we’ll proceed to a buffet dinner at Berlin Farmstead featuring many of the most well-loved dishes in Amish country. You’ll want to save room for dessert though because we’ll end the evening with a special treat back at HWV.


Day 5 – Friday, September 13
Farewell and departure

We’ll enjoy breakfast together at HWV before check-out and departure at 10:00 am.

Cost and Registration

$1,200 per person includes meals, transportation for the duration of the trip, all entrance fees and tips.  No single supplement fee. A $200 deposit is due at time of registration. Registration deadline on July 15. Final payment is due by August 15. Contact The Wilderness Center at 330.359.5235 to register or with any questions.

Included Meals

4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 4 dinners plus snacks along the way including restaurants and catered meals. Vegetarian and gluten-free options may be available with prior notice.

Included Accommodations

Lodging at Holmes with a View – Each Suite offers beautiful views, full private baths, and kitchens.

Included Travel

Travel during the duration of the trip will be via 15 passenger Ford Transit or Chevy Express van.



Outdoors, No Sweat – Walking up to a mile on a boardwalk or maintained trails, getting into and out of a 15 passenger transit van.



Dr. Herb Broda – Professor emeritus of education at Ashland University and adjunct professor at the College of Wooster. Dr. Broda is active in outdoor and environmental education organizations at the state and national levels. He is the author of Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning and Moving the Classroom Outdoors, and is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist.

Carrie Elvey – Senior Naturalist and program coordinator at The Wilderness Center. Carrie is the two-time Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist program Teacher of the Year and has led many small group tours, both locally and nationally. Her passion is reconnecting adults with the joys of childhood discovery that nature exploration provides.

Adam Beichler – TWC Consulting Forester. Adam runs the TWC Forester program and is a Certified Ohio Tree Farm Inspector as well as serving as a chair for the Ohio Tree Farm Committee. He was recently honored as Outstanding Member by the Ohio Society of American Foresters.


Wilderness Center