The Johnson Nature Center is hosting its first Trail Rally on Saturday, Aug. 27.

The Johnson Nature Center is hosting its first Trail Rally on Saturday, Aug. 27.

Photo provided by the Johnson Nature Center

New Trail Rally to support Johnson Nature Center

By: Mary Beth Almond | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published August 9, 2022


BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Adults are invited to grab some friends and take to the trails for a night of adventure.

Johnson Nature Center is hosting its first Trail Rally 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27 at the center, 3325 Franklin Road.

“It’s going to be a super fun night,” said Cathy Wesley, an instructional guide and naturalist for the Johnson Nature Center.

Wesley, who is a new staff member at the Johnson Nature Center, said she has organized trail rallies at other nature centers in the area in previous years and wanted to bring the fun to her new place of employment.

“I have done trail rallies at other nature centers that I’ve worked at, and they are one of my favorite events to run. They are so much fun to do,” she said.

Teams of four, who must be ages 18 and older, will meet at the nature center to grab their Trail Rally packet, which will have a bunch of different puzzles and riddles in them.

“They have to solve the puzzle or riddle, and then, in the puzzle or riddle, it tells them to go to a place on the property, and they will go there and try to find the answer out on the trails,” Wesley said.

Trail Rally teams will have an allotted time frame to answer all of their riddles before meeting back at the nature center for a pizza dinner.

“It might be a sentence that’s hidden in a maze and they might have to find their way through the maze and read the sentence, which might tell them to go to a location — which is marked on a map,” Wesley said. “They will usually see an interpretation sign or something fairly obvious to let them know that is where they need to be, but then they have to look around and find the answer.”

The cost is $80 per team, and all proceeds will benefit conservation efforts at the Johnson Nature Center.

Cass Arsenault, the lead interpretive naturalist at the Johnson Nature Center, said the center has become a place that invites a choose-your-adventure mentality for visitors in this high-tech, fast-paced world.

“The land exposes others to the joy of nature and humanity’s place in it. And whether you come here for a unique experience  — like our “Sap Happy” maple sugaring event in March — or enjoy “hitting the trails” to stay fit, the land teaches us (and is our first teacher). Onsite, you can experience several different habitats: wetlands, a maple grove, prairies and a mixed forest environment and take in the sights and sounds of plants and creatures (whether they have two legs, four legs, or no legs at all),” she said in an email.

Bowers Farm and the Johnson Nature Center are funded through the Bloomfield Hills School general fund, which prioritizes supporting classroom teachers and providing hands-on learning opportunities. Officials said direct expenses for activities that fall outside of the K-12 teaching and learning mission are passed along to participants of community events hosted by the Farm and Nature Center.

Those interested in participating in the Trail Rally must pre-register at