The Woodward News

May 2, 2013

Alabaster Caverns to host Watchable Wildlife weekend

Rowynn Ricks
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — Alabaster Caverns State Park will be holding its annual Watchable Wildlife Weekend this Friday and Saturday.

Free educational activities will be offered from 9 a.m. to about 4 p.m. both days, according to Park Manager Mike Caywood said

"What we've got on Friday is a come and go deal with a couple of displays," Caywood said.  "One of the displays is all about bats.  The other is called 'Skins and Skulls' and is from the Wildlife Department.  It has information about the different pelts animals have and the way their skulls are shaped."

Then on Saturday, he said there will be 3 displays offered.

"Again we'll have the 'Skins and Skulls' and the bat table where they can ask all about bats," he said.  "And we'll have the ranger from the Washita Battlefield site.  I believe she will be bringing information about buffalo."

Also on Saturday, Caywood said that Jerry McLaughlin from the USDA Range Research Station will be leading plant tours.  As part of these walking tours, he said McLaughlin will discuss the various types of native plants found in this area.

"He will take the tours periodically throughout the day.  He kind of has his own schedule and goes when enough people are here to take a tour," Caywood said.

So those who would like to participate in a walking tour need to be sure and check with McLaughlin to find out the time of the next tour, Caywood said.

However, he said otherwise there is no need to make reservations for participation in the Watchable Wildlife Weekend, which is free to attend.

The park manager said that the purpose of the Watchable Wildlife Weekend is "to help educate people about wildlife."

"We've grown apart from that as everybody is moving to live in cities and not on farms as they used to," he said.  "We want to help people more acquainted with the wildlife around them, like they would've been if they were a kid growing up in the 30s and 40s."

However, Caywood said the educational event isn't just for children.

"It's for any age group," he said.

For those wanting to participate in the Watchable Wildlife Weekend, Caywood said Alabaster Caverns is located "6 miles south of Freedom or 20 miles north of Mooreland off of State Highway 50."

There is a sign indicating the turnoff into Alabaster Caverns State Park.

Those attending the educational event can also sign up to take tours of the caverns for an additional fee.

Caywood encourages the public to check back with the state park for additional events over the next few months.

""In the summer we have a different event every month or so," he said.

For more information, contact Alabaster Caverns State Park by phone at (580) 621-3381.