Andy Niekamp to speak at 1st Darke County Parks Winter Speaker Series


DARKE COUNTY – Community members are invited to join Darke County Parks as it welcomes its first winter speaker, Andy Niekamp, to Shawnee Prairie Preserve Nature Center at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6.

On an 88-day thru-hike of Ohio’s Buckeye Trail, Andy “Captain Blue” Niekamp made the most amazing long-distance journey of his life. As he walked his home state through wilderness, farmland, small towns, big cities, rural and urban areas, he discovered Ohio in a way that can be only experienced on foot. Captain Blue’s stories about the people and places, past and present, will change the way people see Ohio. His beautiful photos and experiences will surely inspire others to hike the Buckeye Trail.

Niekamp has been a wilderness adventurer for more than 25 years. This IT professional, turned long-distance hiker, has logged more than 14,000 miles in more than 30 states coast-to-coast including 9,500 miles on the Appalachian Trail.

Hiking is Niekamp’s passion and his acclaimed “fountain of youth.” He has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail end-to-end four times. While more than 10,000 have completed the Appalachian Trail at least one time, fewer than 12 people worldwide have reported completing the Appalachian Trail four times.

Niekamp is the founder and chief adventure officer of Outdoor Adventure Connection, a backcountry guide service based in Dayton. Niekamp has guided hundreds of people on backpacking trips that focus on backcountry skills, education, confidence and leave no trace techniques. His company’s motto is Live, Learn and Love Adventure.

His goal is to inspire others to get exercise, make friends, explore nature, live a healthier lifestyle and make their community a better place to live.

For more information about this or any of the other winter speakers in this season’s series or other park district programs, call the Nature Center at 937-548-0165.

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