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Nature Center holds annual Halloween Woods Walk

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MASSENA - The woods around the Robert Moses State Park Nature Center will be alive with animals Friday night.

And they even talk, to boot.

The Friends of the Robert Moses State Park Nature Center, Inc. are once again hosting their annual Halloween Woods Walk from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Nature Center trails, and Executive Director Mary A. Danboise said visitors will get to meet - and learn about - all kinds of animals that are native to the region as they take a stroll through the woods.

“It is one of the best events that we’ve ever done in terms being creative and fun and different,” she said.

There’s nothing scary about this Halloween walk, just educational, Ms. Danboise said.

“We knew right from the start that lots of kids and some adults were scared to be outside at night. We leave the scary part out,” she said.

There may be the sounds of a coyote howling in the distance, but she said it’s nothing to fear.

“This is fun and educational, not scary - although many years the coyotes howling have frightened a few people,” Ms. Danboise said.

Instead, visitors will find volunteers and friends of the Nature Center who have donned animal costumes and are waiting in the woods to talk about themselves when the visitors arrive.

“Our goal every year is to basically take the group on a guided night hike so they can meet very special animals that are out there waiting for them. We guide them to the animals. The special animals that we work with have a good amount of information about themselves. It’s almost like a meet and greet,” Ms. Danboise said.

Children who attend the Halloween Woods Walk are welcome to wear their costume, but it’s not necessary, according to the Nature Center director.

“We’ve always left it up in the air because some kids don’t get the opportunity to dress up. It was even more so before with the building. We’d always have a party after the walk and, when they were inside by the fireplace they would take off their coats and show off their costumes,” she said.

Now that they don’t have a building following the March 2010 fire, participants in the Halloween Woods Walk will gather around a campfire following the walk, as they did last year. There will be refreshments and song, as well as approximately 30 goodie bags put together by Nature Center staff and volunteers.

“They can dress up, but there’s probably not much of a chance to show it off,” Ms. Danboise said.

Volunteers will be arriving at about 5:30 p.m. and enjoying pizza provided by Trombino’s as they dress up and prepare to hit the woods. The walk will start at 6:30 p.m.

“We always have pizza and stuff for the volunteers while they’re getting ready,” she said.

Based on pre-registration numbers, they’re expecting a big crowd to enjoy the event.

“We got a good sign-up again for the woods walk - over 50 right now. It looks like Mother Nature is going to cooperate also,” Ms. Danboise said.

Although they asked participants to pre-register, she said walk-ins are also welcome.

“One year we had 72 people on the lot going behind me and going across the parking lot. Without a building we thought we’d have less (people) to worry about. Last year they came it was fantastic and this year we have just as many people again. People that have come before are quick to come back and they usually tell somebody else and they come,” she said.

For more information, contact the Nature Center at 705-5593.

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