Join Firefly Author Sara Lewis and Naturalist John Howard
    for a weekend of witnessing the glowing diversity of Ohio’s fireflies
    and the rare & extraordinary small wildlife at Kamama Prairie

$150/person includes five meals and all curriculum. Lodging available at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary – $30/night per person for a shared room; $60/night for private room



The greatest show on earth is performing in Ohio’s unmowed fields and forest edges. During this weekend we will celebrate the wonder of thousands of fireflies glowing at Ridgeview Farm at the Sanctuary with Firefly Author Sara Lewis. Saturday will be spent with John Howard, Ohio’s most indefatigable naturalist,  In the afternoon we will search for the EXTRAORDINARY rare and small wildlife denizens of Adams County – from trapdoor spiders to Edward’s Hairstreak  Butterflies. In the evening we will immerse ourselves in Ohio’s most memorable, remote, and RAREST firefly light shows.

Weekend Schedule


3:00 to 4:00 Check in at the Appalachian Forest Museum.  If you are lodging at the Sanctuary, you can also check into your room.

4:30 p.m. Silent Sparks. Attend Author Sara Lewis’s presentation at the historic Paxton Theater in Bainbridge, a 12 minute drive from the  Highlands Nature Sanctuary. In this talk, noted biologist, award-winning author, and firefly expert Sara Lewis dives into the mysterious world of fireflies and reveals the most up-to-date discoveries about these charismatic insects. Join her on a journey spanning the meadows of New England and the hills of the Great Smoky Mountains, to the rivers of Japan and mangrove forests of Malaysia. Enjoy Sara’s remarkable stories of firefly courtship and romance, poison and yes, even deceit!

THE PAXTON THEATER. This historic rural theater is made of local rainbow sandstone, seats 300 and has sponsored the Paint Valley Jamboree, featuring live country musicians, for 52 continuous years! Bainbridge is on Route 50, 4 miles east from the turnoff to the Sanctuary on Cave Road, and 20 miles west of Chillicothe. The theater is on north side of Main Street on Highway 50, next to the Dairy Queen, on the east side of downtown Bainbridge. You can park anywhere in town, either on HIghway 50, or on the side streets of residential Bainbridge on both sides of 50. Plan a 5 minute walk from parking to the theater. We recommend carrying a flashlight since not all side streets are lit. Address is: 133 E. Main St., Bainbridge, OH 45612 (740) 634-3333. Please don’t confuse Paxton Theater with Paxton Restaurant, also in town.

7:00 p.m.  Dinner & Music at the Appalachian Forest Museum followed by Firefly Viewing at Sanctuary’s Ridgeview Farm with Author Sara Lewis
Be sure to pack your blanket and lawn chairs to enjoy the sophisticated dinner fare at Ridgeview Farm’s beautiful preserve grounds, while being accompanied by the singing of Ridgeview’s rare Henslow sparrows and masterful cello music. As Ridgeview’s rolling hills sink into dusk, we will be enthralled with the spectacle of thousands of fireflies rising out of the meadows in glowing drifts, while the bright strobe lights of a tree-loving firefly flash from the woodland edges. Menu includes a hearty artisan lasagna, large salad with our signature Benevolence dressing, Andrea’s homemade bread sticks, and a farm-egg custard with whipped cream & fresh fruit. Ridgeview is located at 6636 State Route 753, Hillsboro, OH 45133.

Please retire as early as you can because Saturday will be a very long day.


8:30 a.m. Breakfast at the Sanctuary. Enjoy the Sanctuary trails in the morning or take a rest.

11:00 a.m.  Depart for Kamama Prairie, an Arc preserve in Adams County, followed by picnic lunch. Distance is 42 miles, 45 minutes. Because of our remote evening destinations, we will need to take as few cars as possible. We ask that you either share your vehicle or join another if you can.

1:00 p.m.  Exploring the Rare, Unusual & Extraordinary – Insects & Other Wildlife at Kamama Prairie
June is THE month to spot Ohio’s rarest butterflies, and Kamama Prairie in Adams County is a superb destination to find them, as well hosting a rich biodiversity of other plants and animals. When the Arc first acquired Kamama, the preserve sheltered over three dozen state-listed plant species. Although some of those species are now delisted, Kamama still wears the crown in the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System for giving refuge to the highest number of rare species. John Howard, our leader, will enlist the help of participants to look for just about anything that moves at Kamama, big or small, and harder yet, anything that doesn’t! Our search includes, but is not limited to, rare trapdoor spiders, unbelievably beautiful caterpillars, and rare Edward Hairstreak butterflies, whose larvae are nursed by ants. Hiking with John Howard on a June afternoon day promises to be a peak experience for anyone who is a naturalist at heart. Nothing will escape our notice, so be sure to bring binoculars, camera and magnifying lens if you have them. From Kamama we will drive to Serpent Mound, located at 3850 OH-73, Peebles, OH 45660. Distance is 16 miles.

6:00 p.m.  Solstice Dinner at Serpent Mound. This outdoor country-themed dinner will be served in the picnic shelter of Serpent Mound, catered by the locally renowned Ridge Top BBQ. Dinner buffet will include home-smoked chicken with barbecue sauce, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and baked beans. After dinner we will be heading to our firefly viewing destinations.

8:00 – 12 midnight.  Departure for Firefly Viewing Destinations. We will be heading into remote Adams County, requiring approximately 50 minutes of driving, and at least two stops. We assure you the spectacles will be worth the drive. You will see showcases that few Ohio citizens have ever laid eyes on. We should return to the Sanctuary no later than midnight. Please pace yourself – the return drive will require approximately 1.25 hours. You will surely appreciate your vehicle’s good company and conversation on the way home.


9:00 a.m. Breakfast-brunch at the Sanctuary. Please sleep in and enjoy a hearty breakfast with us. Sanctuary lodging check-out is at 11 a.m. but you can linger on the Sanctuary’s many miles of trails as long as you would like before returning home.


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Some of the cool creatures we might find include Northern Metalmark Butterfly, Halloween Pennant, Edward’s Hairstreak Butterfly, and Trapdoor Spider.