Franklin Mountains State Park hosts Halloweenfest to educate the public

Franklin+Mountains+State+Park+rangers+held+Halloweenfest%2C+from+10+a.m.+to+2+p.m.%2C+Sunday%2C+Oct.+30+at+the+visitors%E2%80%99+center+for+the+park.++

Alberto Silva Fernandez

Franklin Mountains State Park rangers held Halloweenfest, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 30 at the visitors’ center for the park.

Kristen Scheaffer, Contributor

Franklin Mountains State Park rangers held Halloweenfest, an event used as a teaching tool about the region’s creepy crawlies, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 30 at the visitors’ center for the park.  

Some of the booths represented there were tables dedicated to species such as spiders with a live tarantula to hold, snakes, mosquitoes with live samples, bats and worms. Other tables held an animal mask making booth and a pumpkin carving contest that people could vote on.  

“It’s a very cool experience being able to hold the spider and seeing everything that they have here,” said Janaya Rosales, a student. “(There is) just so much nature around us and it’s really beautiful.”  

Each table was dedicated to educating visitors about the specific critters they had displayed, teaching them about conservation, and in some cases, about how to protect oneself.  

“Bats need love, they’re vital to our environment,” said Rosie Cubillos, bat ambassador from Bat Conservation International. “They’re free exterminators, friendly exterminators. They are beneficial to our crops, a lot of what you eat. They help protect by eating the bad insects, so give the bats some love.”  

Along with the educational tables, there were volunteers who wanted to help with drawing in visitors to see what the Franklin Mountains can represent. 

“I just fell in love with the hiking and the trails, it’s amazing out here,” said volunteer Laura Rosales. “I didn’t even know about all this until seven years ago. So, once I discovered it, I’m like, ‘I have to do more to (tell) people about it.’”  

This marks the event’s second year at the visitors’ center, but it used to be hosted at Wyler Tramway for about four years, according to park interpreter Ciana Moy.  

“We just want to educate our community and we have misconceptions about the creepy crawlies and all the legs, and they’re scary. And we hear all these myths,” Moy said.   

According to Moy, they try to hold various events throughout the year to educate the community about the region and what makes the state parks so special.  

“We’re just having an event and inviting the community over, celebrating Halloween with a little bit of activities for the kids,” said volunteer Luis Jauregui. “And for the most part, you try to encourage everyone to come outdoors and enjoy the sun and enjoy the activities and enjoy nature on the beautiful Franklin Mountains State Park.”  

Jauregui ran a table where children could come up and color some papered masks before cutting them out for wearing. The masks ranged from foxes, axolotls, lizards and various other creatures that may or may not be found in the area.  

“Be ready for next year, I’ll have more creepy crawlies. Hopefully bigger and better. But check out the park, check out our website, and our Facebook pages for the different events,” Moy said. 

For more information on events visit tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/franklin-mountains or on Facebook at FranklinMountainsSP.  

 

Kristen Scheaffer is a contributor and can be reached at [email protected]