Kenai National Wildlife Refuge takes the "fright" out of the night

It wasn’t a Halloween event, but the holiday provided a great educational opportunity for Michelle Ostrowski, educational specialist at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. “We set up discovery tables at our educational center so that people could learn more about the things they are afraid of, and hopefully knowing the truth will dispel some of those fears,” Ranger Ostrowski said in an interview. About 50 families turned out on a mild evening, and after listing the things they were afraid of they were divided into groups to go for a spook walk. “It wasn’t a trick-or-treating event—no costumes, no candy. The spook trail component at sunset was lit by luminaries at four stations along the trail where each group stopped together and heard a ranger talk about the very things that people fear in the night, like owls, bats and ravens. Then at the end of the trail at the lake boardwalk, the groups were able to peer into the night sky and do some stargazing. This was the second year, and we had a good turnout. Hopefully a lot of kids learned you don’t have to be scared of the dark by dispelling some of the myths about the animals they are afraid of and learning what it is that makes those mysterious night sounds in the woods. The forest is a great place to explore whether it is day or night,” said Ostrowski.