Serving the community is a central component of the BFEC's mission. Community members are invited to explore our 500-acre preserve, wildlife garden and almost nine miles of trail, which are open from dawn to dusk. The BFEC offers public programs and events such as star gazing, full moon hikes, prairie tours and an annual nature photography contest. The center regularly hosts field trips for Knox County elementary schools. Check  below for more information, or check the calendar for upcoming events.

School Field Trips

The BFEC hosts school field trips for local school children every year. Since its inception in 1996, almost 23,000 elementary school children from throughout Knox County have visited. Programs offer hands-on, outdoor explorations to inspire curiosity and wonder about nature while addressing Ohio academic science standards.  As of fall 2019, the BFEC is proud to reimburse every classroom for their transportation expenses to/from our facility for field trips.  This is possible because of generous support from the Knox County Foundation and many dedicated private donors.

Fall 2020

We have special resources for elementary and middle school teachers for fall 2020.

Nature programs

The BFEC offers programs every month on topics such as star gazing, winter tree ID, wild edible plants or hunting for salamanders. Check our calendar often or join our mail/email list and receive regular notices.

Summer Camps

The BFEC partners with SPI every summer to offer engaging nature camps.  Check the SPI website for more details.  The BFEC is proud to support day camps offered by other local organizations each summer, including the Salvation Army, Behavioral Health Partners, and more.  If you would like to bring your summer camp group to the BFEC, contact Noelle Jordan at jordan2 or at 740-427-5052.

Keep it wild: Earth Day at the BFEC

Our Earth Day Festival with live animals will be back in 2021.  

Walk the Trails at BFEC

Runners and walkers of all ages are always welcome on the trails at the BFEC. With almost 9 miles of trails, you can enjoy hardwood forests, restored tall grass prairies and other ecosystems.  Please keep dogs leashed, and do not harvest mushrooms, wildflowers, herbs, etc.

Knox County Nature Photography Contest

Photographs of our natural world remind us of the beauty to be found when we take the time to look. Every year, community members are invited to enter this contest in celebration of our scenic Knox County. Photographs are due in mid-October, and a contest show takes places during our Fall Harvest Festival. Prizes are awarded in adult, children's (15 and under) and student divisions. Visit the photo contest page for entry guidelines.

Fall Harvest Festival

This annual event features  horse-drawn hayrides, pumpkin decorating, live music, cider press, and children's games & activities.  This year's festival has been cancelled due to the pandemic.

Christmas Bird Count

For over 100 years, the Audubon Society has organized the Christmas Bird Count to track long term trends in bird populations across the Americas. The BFEC monitors birds right here in Knox County, covering Mt. Vernon, Gambier, Apple Valley and Fredericktown. Participants count birds at home feeders or in the field along roads and trails. Contact the BFEC anytime of year to let us know you'd like to help. Email Noelle Jordan at or call 740-427-5052.