The Woodward News

Local News

July 20, 2012

‘Bat-stravaganza 2012’ Monday at state park

Woodward, Okla. — FREEDOM - Around a million bats cover the night sky as they exit from the Selman cave to feed every night in the summer.

You can watch this nocturnal display and learn more about bats during "Bat-stravaganza 2012," which will be held Monday, July 23 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Alabaster Caverns State Park.  However, participation is limited, with about 25 tickets left for purchase.  

The event will begin at the state park's main office with a hot dog and snacks social.   Transportation will then be provided to the bat cave.

"It's quite an experience," said Coleta Bratten, chair of the Oklahoma Wildlife and Prairie Heritage Alliance (OWPHA). "It's teaching about the wildlife we have and getting people out in nature."

Bratten said Mexican Free Tail bats and other species come out in droves and many will come sweeping over you and swoop around in the night sky.  

Attendees are encouraged to bring cameras to take pictures, as well as binoculars, blankets, lawn chairs and insect repellant.

Water will be provided and a first aid kit will be kept on hand as there are snakes in the area or in case people get bit by insects she said.

This is the 4th annual bat watch, which is put on in conjunction between OWPHA, Alabaster Caverns State Park and wildlife diversity biologists from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Wildlife Diversity Biologist Mel Hickman will be talking to the group about what the bats eat, how they fly, how much they eat, the history of bats and more.

Bratten said since the event is exclusive, with a maximum of 40 tickets being sold, attendees will have more time to visit with the biologist and get all their bat questions answered.

"Usually there are 70 to 100 people that go with the wildlife department," she said. "This is just a little more one-on-one."

If you would like to purchase a ticket call Coleta Bratten at (580) 328-5366 or (580) 922-1248.

Children under 8 are not allowed due to the length of the bat watch, minimal facilities and safety issues, such as possible snake encounters.

For more information about Bat-stravaganza visit www.owpha.org or send an email to owpha@pldi.net.

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