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Les Cockrell: State park slates seasonal activities

Area residents in search of seasonal activities may want to check out Ray Roberts Lake State Park this weekend, where night hikes, a pumpkin carving contest and a program on bats are scheduled.

Staff members of the park’s Johnson Branch Unit will host a hike at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and participants should meet at the pavilion in the Dogwood parking lot. Hikers will search for signs of insect activity and nocturnal animals on the 2-mile hike along a paved trail. A flashlight is recommended.

A habitats and history hike at 10 a.m. will lead off activities on Saturday at the park’s Isle du Bois Unit. Participants should meet at the Hawthorn parking area for the 2.2-mile hike along the Randy Bell Scenic Trail. No reservations are required.

A program titled “Animal Antics” is planned at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Isle du Bois Unit. The kid-friendly talk about animal behavior will be offered at the unit’s interpretive center and will be followed by a quarter-mile hike. No reservations are required.

Staff members at the Johnson Branch Unit are inviting area residents to bring their carved pumpkins to the amphitheater near the fishing pond to be judged in the unit’s annual contest at 5 p.m. Saturday. One entry per family will be accepted, and participants should plan to arrive early to be ready for the judging.

The event is sponsored by Cabela’s, and prizes will be awarded. Participants are invited to wear Halloween costumes.

A program titled “The Good, the Bat, and the Ugly” is planned at 6 p.m. Saturday in the amphitheater at Johnson Branch. Participants can learn about the various species of bats that call Texas home and go on a short night hike afterward.

Staff at the Isle du Bois Unit will host a twilight hike at 7 p.m. Saturday. Participants should meet at the Hawthorn parking area for the hike, which will follow the Randy Bell Scenic Trail.

Park admission is $7 for those 13 and older.

For more information about Isle du Bois events, call 940-686-2148. For information about Johnson Branch events, call 940-637-2294.


Plant society to present program on milkweed

Members of the Trinity Forks Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will hear a program on milkweed presented by organic horticulturist Randy Johnson at its meeting tonight.

The group meets at the Ann Stewart Science Complex at Texas Woman’s University. Refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m. in the foyer, and the program will begin at 7 p.m. in the second-floor auditorium.

Johnson’s presentation is titled “Native Milkweed: A Keystone Species.”

For more information, e-mail Cecil Carter at or visit


North Branch Library sets seasonal entertainment

Denton’s North Branch Library will offer seasonal entertainment for children and teenagers during the next week.

The library will offer Monster Storytime for ages 1-5 at 11 a.m. Friday. The free program will feature stories, songs and rhymes all about friendly (and a few not-so-friendly) monsters.

Teens are invited to celebrate all things zombie at 7 p.m. Tuesday. “Night of the Living Dead,” for ages 11-18, will feature zombie-themed trivia, games, crafts and snacks, and the best costume will win a prize. Registration is required by calling 940-349-8752. The library is located at 3020 N. Locust St.


Day of the Dead features pumpkin patch activities

Denton’s Day of the Dead celebration on Saturday will once again have a pumpkin patch with games and surprises for children.

The festivities will begin at 11 a.m. with a costume parade and trunk-or-treating with vintage cars. The pumpkin patch will also feature juggling and carnival games. At noon, Miss Polly and Her Tiny Big Band will perform on the main stage.

Everyone is invited to come in costume and enjoy the activities on Industrial and Hickory streets in downtown Denton.

The celebration will also feature plenty of other activities, including coffin races down Hickory Street at 1 p.m. For more information, visit


Triangle Lions Club to present movies for kids

The Denton Triangle Lions Club will sponsor two free children’s movies on Saturday at the Cinemark Denton, 2825 Wind River Lane.

The movies are Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted and Megamind, and the showing will start at 9 a.m. No tickets are required, and all ages are invited. Both movies are rated PG.

For more information, call Laura Story at 940-387-8290 or Linda Kinnison at 940-381-0520.


Interfaith Ministries to offer coats for children

Interfaith Ministries of Denton Inc. will host its Coats for Kids event at 9 a.m. Saturday in Monroe Gym of First United Methodist Church of Denton, 201 S. Locust St.

The event will be first-come, first-served, and participants must have valid identification and every child receiving a coat must be present, according to a news release.

For more information, call Interfaith Ministries at 940-565-5479.


Group seeks volunteers to plant wildflowers

Keep Lewisville Beautiful needs volunteers of all ages to help plant wildflowers at Lewisville’s Lake Park from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

Shovels, rakes, gloves and other equipment will be provided, but participants are welcome to bring their own. More than 70 pounds of seeds will be planted, organizers said in a press release.

The event is planned in conjunction with the 23rd annual “Make a Difference Day” celebration. To register, call 972-539-5949 or visit


Master Gardeners seek potential applicants

Denton County residents interested in joining the Denton County Master Gardener Association are invited to attend an informational reception from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday at the Texas AgriLife Extension Office, in Suite 112 of the Joseph A. Carroll Building at 401 W. Hickory St. in Denton.

The Master Gardener Roundup is an annual event where potential applicants can meet members and ask questions about the activities the organization supports. Applications for the 2014 Master Gardener training program must be submitted by Oct. 31.

Roundup attendance is not required for new class members, but everyone must complete an application form, available online at

For more information, visit the website.


Don’t forget

The seventh annual Robson Ranch Craft Bazaar will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the Robson Ranch Clubhouse on Ed Robson Boulevard. Admission and parking are free, and the sale will feature about 40 vendors, all Robson Ranch residents, offering handcrafted items.

To reach the bazaar, take Interstate 35W to Exit 79, Robson Ranch Road.

Go west 1.5 miles and follow the signs for the craft bazaar after entering the gate.

LES COCKRELL is interested in your input for Out & About. Help share information about Denton County events and people by calling him at 940-566-6887. His e-mail address is