Prairie Oaks is located at 1200 W South St.

Prairie Oaks is located at 1200 W South St.

(Photo Credit: Steve Johnson)

The Prairie Oaks Institute in Belle Plaine will be hosting its first outdoor Winter Warmer event on Saturday, Feb. 20.

Members of the public are encouraged to slip on their snow boots and come out to enjoy walking trails or bring their own snowshoes, cross country skis, or sleds to further explore the property. 

“This is kind of the first foray into opening up another segment of our property to encourage people to come and check it out,” said Prairie Oaks Stewardship Fellow Sam Farmer. 

Prairie Oaks typically operates by hosting retreats and classes for local colleges, clubs, and organizations. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the leadership team has decided to pivot to start offering experiences that the public can appreciate in an era of social distancing. 

“We’re just really looking to see how we can switch our focus to better meet people’s needs because very few people are saying, ‘We really want to host an in-person event with a bunch of strangers’. They are saying, ‘Oh, we would like to get out of our house and go wander around somewhere,’” he said. 

The Winter Warmer will take place at Prairie Oaks from 2 p.m. until dark. It is a free event, and participants are encouraged to bring their own outdoor equipment if desired. There will be hot cider and fire pits to help people warm up. 

Prairie Oaks is located at 1200 W. South St., Belle Plaine.

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