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National Selfie Contest Winner Donates Prize to Hendricks County Parks

A Hendricks County woman’s photo of herself and her daughter won a national selfie contest through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), and she then donated her $500 prize to Hendricks County Parks and Recreation.

To celebrate Parks and Recreation Month in July, NRPA held a selfie contest with a different theme every week, encouraging people to take pictures of themselves while enjoying the great outdoors. Each week’s winner took home a $500 Amazon gift card from NRPA. The first theme of the month was to take a selfie with nature.

Meghan Stritar of Brownsburg participated in the Summer Fun Run Series hosted by Hendricks County Parks and Recreation at the Hendricks Regional Health YMCA on July 6 and took a selfie with her daughter during the event. She then submitted the selfie to NRPA to enter the contest.

Through a massive social media effort spearheaded by Stritar, her photo garnered the most votes of all the selfies throughout the country that were submitted to NRPA that week, and she was awarded the first $500 prize of the contest.

Stritar then immediately contacted the Hendricks County Parks and Recreation office and informed them that she is donating her prize to be used for children’s programming.

“The contest was designed to promote local parks, so it seemed logical to me and my family to donate the prize to the county’s parks department,” said Stritar.

A mother of two children and the publisher of Macaroni Kid Hendricks – an online resource for local parents – Stritar and her family frequently attend Hendricks County Parks and Recreation’s programs, many of which are offered at no charge to the public, but which involve supplies for crafts and projects.

“This was a great surprise for us,” said Jeremy Weber, superintendent of Hendricks County Parks and Recreation.  “It’s nice to know we have a community willing to invest like this in parks.  This donation is a huge investment in community health, nature education, and programs for kids.  It will make a real difference, and we are very grateful.”

Hendricks County Parks and Recreation operates McCloud Nature Park, Sodalis Nature Park, and the Amo-Coatesville section of the Vandalia Trail. Families can get more information about their programming at More information about Macaroni Kid Hendricks can be found at

Nature Photos Sought for 2017 Parks Wall Calendar

Deadline for submission has passed!  Winners announced very soon!

Hendricks County Parks & Recreation is calling all professional and amateur photographers to help with photos to be used for a 2017 wall calendar that will feature the department’s three existing facilities:  McCloud Nature Park, Sodalis Nature Park and the Amo-Coatesville section of the Vandalia Trail.

Photos may be submitted for consideration now through September 2, and prize packages will be awarded to the 12 winning photographers whose pictures are selected for the calendar. Winners will receive a free t-shirt, three copies of the 2017 calendar, an 8-ounce bottle of McCloud Maple Syrup, free registration to a Hendricks County Parks & Recreation program in 2016 or 2017, and an additional gift donated by Roberts Camera in Indianapolis.

Details about the contest and how photographs may be submitted can be found on the department’s website at

“We know that there are many talented photographers in the area, and we know that McCloud, Sodalis and the Vandalia Trail offer endless possibilities for outstanding pictures,” said Eric Ivie, who handles communications and marketing for Hendricks County Parks & Recreation. “Creating a wall calendar that highlights our parks is a great way to get photographers’ unique visions of the natural beauty that we offer visitors.”

Ivie said that the department is seeking photos from all four seasons that have been taken within their three facilities. Other than that, he said, there are no restrictions.

“We want photographers to express their creativity and show us their perspective of our parks through their lenses,” said Ivie.

The winning photographs will be chosen in September, and the 2017 calendars will be available for purchase by the end of October, in time for the holiday season.

Hendricks County Parks & Recreation plans to make the calendar photo contest an annual event, so Ivie encourages photographers to take pictures in their parks year-round for future submissions, too.

A Float Through McCloud Nature Park

The Big Walnut Creek runs through McCloud Nature Park in North Salem, Indiana.

On June 12, thirteen-year old, Nick Randall, set out to capture video of entire length of the Big Walnut through McCloud by mounting his GoPro to the front of the canoe.  Below are two excerpts of his voyage.

If you are thinking of canoeing or kayaking on the Big Walnut, McCloud is a great access point.  You can float downstream to Pine Bluff Covered Bridge or  further to the Rolling Stone Covered Bridge or even further all the way to US 36.  The creek is shallow in parts, but still lots of adventure to be had!



What better way to explore 13 PARKS in Hendricks County than on a RUN!


Every Wednesday from June 1 -August 24, runners and walkers are invited to join us at a Hendricks County park to complete a 1-mile or 5K course. This is a non-timed event that is enjoyed by the whole family.

Join us at the designated park between 6:00pm and 7:00pm, sign-in, and proceed to the “start” to begin your run or walk.  Park staff and volunteers will be present to assist and answer questions, and all host parks will be clearly marked with both a 5K and 1-mile course.

Our ‘FREE T-shirt Challenge’ is back this year! Those who participate in 10 out of 13 runs will qualify for a commemorative shirt!  Don’t forget to sign-in!

The Summer Fun Run Series is free thanks to our Parks Foundation partners: 

Race Maker Productions Hendricks Regional Health Banning Engineering flyer wm nssb

Special thanks to all of our 2015 Summer Fun Run Location Partners!
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Arboretum Groundbreaking

The Arboretum at McCloud Nature Park


May 6, 2016

McCloud Nature Park 

Please join Hendricks County Parks & Recreation and the Parks Foundation of Hendricks County as we celebrate the groundbreaking of our newest attraction – the Arboretum at McCloud!  We would be grateful for your presence as we move forward in expanding and enhancing our Hendricks County Parks.

Ceremony – 10:00 AM
Refreshments on the Big Walnut Creek to follow
Casual Attire Suggested 

More information on the Arboretum

Foundation Board of Directors 

Jeff Banning
Banning Engineering
Mike Hayden
Brad Eisenhart
Waste Management of Indiana

Scott Geans
Nysewander, Geans, & Stucky
Matt Browning
Hendricks Regional Health
Josh Dobbs, M.S.
IU West Hospital
Gary Emsweller
Hendricks Co. Parks & Recreation

Parks Board of Directors

Gary Emsweller
Beth Switzer
Dennis Gibbs
Matthew Freije
Paul Miner
Bob Niemeyer