Tornado is teaching us lessons


By Ashley Houdeshell

Darke County Parks

I would like to reflect on the recent tornado that ripped through our town just a few short weeks ago. This was the first time the city of Greenville has experienced a weather event of this magnitude. Our community witnessed first-hand the destructive power of nature. Although, even more powerful than the tornado, was the response from the community. No sooner than the wind stopped blowing, began the immediate response from our city’s first responders, EMS personnel, city, and county employees. Neighbors, family, and friends were also there; offering all they could to help those directly affected. Churches, food banks, and many local businesses all offered their services, food, and water to support those in need.

The support has continued in the weeks to follow, as the cleanup is ongoing. It was so comforting to see that our city was prepared for an event such as this. Just as comforting to witness was that our community members were so willing to lend a helping hand. This experience has shown how strong a community can be when everyone comes together; when everyone lends a helping hand in support of others. It was a blessing that there were no serious injuries or deaths reported. However, our community did lose something incredibly special to us that day; our trees. It was estimated that approximately 80% of the trees in the city park were destroyed; completely altering our natural landscape. Both the city and the county parks lost trees that were hundreds of years old. Although we will replant trees, we cannot get back those old growth trees. This is a heartbreaking example that when something is gone, it is gone for good. This loss highlights the importance of enjoying and appreciating the natural beauty of our area while we still can.

I encourage everyone to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty that is all around you. There are so many unique natural areas within our county. The mission of Darke County Parks is to maintain and protect these natural areas for the county residents and future generations. There are multiple preserves, meadows, wetlands, sanctuaries, trails, and facilities to visit within the Darke County Park District. There are many ways for you to support the mission of the Darke County Parks. Attend the free public events offered by Darke County Parks, register for the programs, hike the trails, rent a kayak to float the creek, visit the Bish Discovery Center, the Bear’s Mill, and the Nature Center at Shawnee Prairie. If you are interested in helping support Darke County Parks by offering your time and talents; consider becoming a volunteer.

Volunteers are vital to the success of the park district and as we have experienced, a community is stronger when its members come together to lend a helping hand. As the new volunteer coordinator, it is my pleasure to assist you along your volunteer journey. There are so many ways to assist the park district. Do you have an interest in history and/or theatre? Consider being a period re-enactor for the parks. Do you have an interest in animal care; we have raptors, turtles, snakes, and a flying squirrel that you can train to care for. Do you want to pursue a career in education, youth programming, administration, or maintenance? Volunteering for the Darke County Parks is a great starting place to gain invaluable training, skills, and experience. Volunteering is great for your well-being and is something that employers look for on your resume.

Further information on becoming a volunteer, event dates, and park locations can be found on our website, Please reach out via phone or email with any questions. The Darke County Parks values your support, and we hope to see you enjoying the

parks this summer. Most importantly, get outside to enjoy the natural beauty of your county, because as we have witnessed it can all be gone in an instant.

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