Category Archives: FOD News


FOD appointed a seven person Dornwood Complex Committee to develop with SCP&R staff a 5 year plan for the ball complex, nature area, mountain bike trails, and recreation areas.  The purpose is to submit to the SCP&R Advisory Board and the County Commisioners a workable plan to improve Dornwood in all areas of the park.  The FOD Board recognizes that after one year of the consolidation of the Topeka and Shawnee County P&R that it is time for the multifaceted Dornwood to have specific plans and funding to implement the FOD mission for the underserved park.

Public input will be encouraged in order to educate residents on how the park will help the community in the areas of youth resources, education, recreation and crime prevention.  If you are interested in having your voice heard as to the needs of Dornwood, please LIKE  Friends of Dornwood on FB and leave your comments on this website under contacts.  Please place FOD Improvements in the subject line.




FOD Board announces Membership Plans for 2013

The FOD Board urges all interested persons to join FOD for 2013 by obtaining a memberhsip.  All members will receive the quarterly digital newsletter Discoverying Dornwood.  A newsletter full of many of the things that make Dornwood unique.

Make Checks payable to: Shawnee County Parks Foundation with Friends of Dornwood in memo field.  Mail to SCPF  3137 SE 29th, Topeka, KS 66605

Senior/Studen Membership $15.00 Annual
Family/Individual $25.00 Annual
Charter $100.00 Annual and Free Birdhouse Unpainted/Weblisting

Eagles in the future of Dornwood?

Topeka Audubon Society brought the idea of installing an eagle nesting platform to the Friends of Dornwood Board.   With Dornwood Park located along Deer Creek between Lake Shawnee and the Kansas River, this may be an ideal site to attract a nesting pair of eagles. These birds, our national symbol, have increased over the last 30 years and are even fishing, fairly often, on Lake Shawnee and the Kansas River. TAS members are researching the idea and seeking partners to make this happen.

The partnerships of interested organizations is what make FOD such a great part for our community.  Discover Dornwood and soon you might be able to add a nesting pair of eagles on your list of discovery. 


Message Center Installed at Dornwood Trailhead

New Message Board at trailhead seems to be a hit with everyone.  The SCP&R purchased and installed the new message center and Friends of Dornwood members will maintain it with current information  The message center has a map of the trails, with a much improved one being developed.  One of the comments that we hear so often is that users wish the trails were marked.  That is one project that FOD is working with other groups to have the trails, both bike and hiking, marked.

The message center also gives some information of what you will see in your discovery of the trails.  Just another improvement in helping others Discover Dornwood.

Successful First Discover Dornwood Day

On Saturday October 20 the first annual Discover Dornwood Day was organized at Dornwood Park. During this day Friends of Dornwood invited people to enjoy the park and showcased some of the ideas for the future of the park. Thanks to all the people that stopped by to watch or play a game, adopt a birdhouse, let their dog run around in the bark park or enjoy the trails. A big hand also to all the people that worked hard to make this possible and to our sponsors.

Click on the photo gallery below for an impression of the day.

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Discover Dornwood Day Activities

The schedule for today’s Discover Dornwood events:

  • All Day (9:30-3:30): Food vendors - Hot Air balloon - Multi use / handicap / Braille trail – Bark Park - Picnic area
  • 9:30-11:30 Birdhouse adoptions
  • 11:00 Exhibition Softball Game (Dornwood Girls Softball Association)
  • 01:00 Exhibition Baseball Game (Highland Park Baseball Association)

Discover Dornwood Day, Saturday, October 20, 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM at Dornwood Park.

Hundreds of volunteers have spent the past several months cleaning up the Dornwood Park nature area.  A diverse group of interested citizens from area Neighborhood Improvement Associations, local schools, mountain bike enthusiasts, baseball and softball teams, Topeka Audubon Society, hikers, nature lovers, Shawnee County Parks & Recreation, and SCPR Foundation have teamed up to bring back Dornwood Park to its former glory. This 128 acre park offers space for all of these special interest community groups to enjoy quality of life outdoors in our community.

Saturday’s event will include tethered hot air balloon in the morning, girl’s softball exhibition game followed by boy’s baseball exhibition game, hiking trails and opportunities to adopt one of 50 bird houses. Various activities run until 3:30 PM. Families attending are encouraged to adopt a birdhouse Saturday. Please fill out the form here to register to adopt a birdhouse. The birdhouses were built and painted by volunteers.   The materials for the birdhouses were supplied by Lowe’s.

A concession will be operated by the Highland Park Baseball Association serving pulled pork sandwiches and grilled hamburgers, chips and soft drinks.  Kettle Corn and Nathan’s Hot Dogs will also be available.

Memberships to Friends of Dornwood available and donations accepted.

Sponsors for the Discover Dornwood Day are:



Birdhouse Adoption now Open!

As of this moment the application for adoption of the Bluebird Birdhouses is open!! Click on the link below for more information on the adoption requirements and the adoption form.

Birdhouse Adoption Application

There are only 50 birdhouses available, so act fast!

Birdhouse Adopter Guidlines Released

The guidlines for maintaining one of the fifty birdhouses to be placed in the park on Saturday October 20th as part of Discover Dornwood Days have been released and are printed below.  LIKE FOD on Facebook and you will find the exact time adoptions will start online on Monday October 1st.  There is no cost for the birdhouse but each adopter must meet the  rules and agree to the guidelines below.

Best Guidelines
For best care during nesting season (March through August), quickly, quietly and carefully check on nest boxes once or twice a week in the afternoon so you can identify and address any problems. Avoid monitoring in early morning, dusk, or during wet cold weather, or when young are close to fledging. A little carelessness can result in accidental destruction or parents deserting a nest. Feel free to notify FOD or TAS your house results via web and with your birdhouse number.

Minimum Guidelines
If you do NOTHING ELSE, please at least clean the box out at the end of the season (September) and make any repairs.
Please DO NOT let non-native house sparrows use the box as they will harm the native cavity nesters the box was intended to help.

Inspection Techniques
Just tap on the box and whistle or call, open the box carefully, take a quick peek inside, and close. Clean out the nest as soon as the baby birds fledge. If you aren’t sure when the young birds fledged, then don’t clean the nest as the parent birds may nest again within a few days. Avoid inhaling dust/detritus!  Dispose of the nest far away. It’s possible other cavity nesting birds such as chickadees or wrens may use the box and that is okay.

Additional information
There are many more things to know to be the best steward of your birdhouse, so please visit the website  These directions were compiled from website by the Topeka Audubon Society .  You are invited to join the TAS and find out much more about the over 121 species of birds identified in Dornwood Park.  Join the TAS email group through the TAS website.

To download these guidelines, click here: TAS Blue Bird House Adopter Guidelines

Park Cleanup and Birdhouse Painting Saturday 9/22

Saturday, September 22nd, 9AM till noon, FOD will have park cleanup and painting of more birdhouses for Discover Dornwood Days on October 20th.  We are thrilled to have the Youth Volunteer Corp of Topeka (YVC) to join us in this effort with their “cleanup carnival”.  You and your youth are invited also.  It will be a morning of fun, games and work.  Plan to join this great event as together we Discover Dornwood.  Remember EVERYONE is invited.  SEE YOU THERE!!