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Nov 15, 2018







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Take a not-too-scary nature walk. Photo by Tim Acerno.




Enchanted Forest

When: Friday, Oct. 21, and Saturday, Oct. 22, 5 to 8 p.m.
Where: NH Audubon McLane Center, 84 Silk Farm Road, Concord
Cost: $9.50 (pre-registration is required)
Visit: nhaudubon.org, or call 224-9909, ext. 313, to sign up




Natural instincts
Enchanted Forest nature walk returns

10/20/16
By Matt Ingersoll listings@hippopress.com



 As a not-so-scary way to celebrate Halloween, take an evening stroll through the woods around the McLane Center in Concord during the annual Enchanted Forest, happening Friday, Oct. 21, and Saturday, Oct. 22. 

“We like to call it a family-friendly alternative to scary haunted houses, and it’s also designed as an educational event,” said Ruth Smith, community engagement manager of New Hampshire Audubon, which hosts the walks each year. “We usually do it the weekend before Halloween so as not to compete with trick-or-treating, and we put up Halloween decorations to keep in the season.”
The educational walk will be led by volunteers and filled with nature-themed skits, campfire stories and more. Jack-o-lanterns will light the way throughout the trails.
Inside the center, enjoy crafts, games and refreshments while you wait to embark on the walk, which which will be split into one-hour time slots that will leave every 20 minutes, from 5 to 8 p.m. each night.
Each group that departs will have two guides for the duration of the trail, which makes stops at four separate skit sites, Smith said. All of the skits will be covered in the event of rain.
“Each [skit] has live actors who act out as animals, plants or various features of the natural world and they work on dispelling myths, so the skits are informative and educational but humorous and fun as well,” she said. “We provide all of the costumes and write the scripts ourselves for the volunteers to rehearse.”
Previous skits have been about why birds migrate and the challenges they face, how spiders can be helpful to our ecosystem, a “weather wizard” who gives talks about climate change and weather patterns, and more. Other iconic Halloween images like bats and skeletons have been acted out to stay true to the Halloween spirit. But Smith said the skits are a surprise, as they are usually not disclosed until participants are actually out in the woods.
“It’s usually a combination of some new skits and versions of some recycled skits that we haven’t done in a while but have brought back,” Smith said, noting that the first walk was back in 1987.
At the conclusion of each walk, the group will gather around a campfire with a storyteller who will tell stories based on old Native American legends.
Smith said although the first couple of tours are typically more popular among families with younger children, due to its still being daylight outside, the event each year has drawn teenagers and adults without children as well.
“We have volunteers who donate a ton of time and practice and we have folks that come back year after year for that reason,” she said. “I think especially for some of the adults that come back, they appreciate that kind of community engagement and involvement.”
The event has inspired similar walks all across New England, having developed a reputation as the first established woods-based walk around the Halloween season.
“The thing about nature is that there are so many fascinating and cool things that you can use as skits and can teach in a fun and engaging way,” Smith said, “so it truly is a magical event.” 





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