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The 411: Youth

Girl Scouts and 'gators

Girl Scouts and 'gators
Junior Girl Scouts and Brownies learn about alligators and other wildlife at Choke Canyon.

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March 1, 2011
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A camping trip to Choke Canyon State Park Feb. 18-20 turned out to be even more fun than expected when Girl Scouts from Troop 2532 in Poth saw two alligators while hiking a bird trail.

“This area is normally off-limits to park guests, but since we had the ranger leading us, we got to walk through ‘alligator alley,’” Troop Leader Lisa Theuret said.

The ’gators are supposed to be inactive during cold weather, but the troop of Brownies and Juniors observed two 6-foot alligators in the 75-acre lake. Evidently, the recent warmer weather brought them out.

“We did see a great blue heron, coots, and white egrets on the lake, as well as green jays, a red bird, and a woodpecker at our campsite,” Theuret said. “The park is a great place for inexperienced bird watchers, because the trails are labeled with the names of birds you should see there.”

The 11 Scouts and three adults also enjoyed a presentation on animals living in the park by ranger Paul Jaure. They learned about alligators, snakes, and spiders and how to administer first aid to poisonous or venomous bites. Holding a 2-month-old baby alligator and a 1-year-old alligator that measured 2 feet long were some of the highlights. The girls also met a tortoise and a baby red-eared slider turtle.

Saturday night after campfire songs and s’mores, the Scouts took a night hike in Owl Hollow. They didn’t see any owls, but did get to see deer, armadillos, and an opossum.

“I would recommend Choke Canyon to any youth group or family looking for a great place to camp,” Theuret said. “The staff was welcoming and helpful, and the facilities were neat and clean. The girls didn’t want to leave and are already planning a trip back to the lake next fall.”

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