Springfield Nature Center Halloween event to focus on spiders

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – "Scary" is how many people describe spiders, but these arachnids do more for humans than provide ideas for decorations at Halloween.
Learn how spiders benefit us during an evening of education and entertainment at the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Springfield Conservation Nature Center's "Halloween Happening: Spider Spree" event on Oct. 23 and Oct. 24. Nighttime outdoor fun, a few hiking surprises and conservation education will all be part of this family-oriented event, which will be from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. each day.

"Spiders are easy targets for portrayal as sinister creatures," said MDC Springfield Conservation Nature Center Manager Linda Chorice. "They move quickly, startle us by their presence and are often found in dark places like basements and attics."

Spiders are often envisioned inhabiting little-used parts of our houses, garages and out-buildings, but they're common in the outdoors, too. It's estimated approximately 11,000 spiders are in a typical acre of Missouri forest habitat and more than two million spiders can be found in a typical acre of Missouri grassland habitat. These numbers may sound startling, but consider this: Many spiders often consume at least one insect per day, which means spiders play a tremendous role in controlling insect populations. Think about the insect problems we'd have if there weren't many spiders eating insects.

"Spiders are very important to people because they help control insect populations," Chorice said. "They are also an important food source for some types of birds and other animals as well."

At "Spider Spree," people can learn about spiders in several ways. Each evening of the event, groups will be led on guided hikes on the Nature Center trails where they will meet costume-clad characters that will provide spider knowledge that's both educational and entertaining. The last hike is scheduled to leave the Nature Center building at 9 p.m. Children are welcome to wear Halloween costumes.

While hikes are taking place on the trails, spider-oriented activities will be going on inside the Nature Center building. Free soda and popcorn will be provided. Overflow parking will be available at Bryan University (4255 S. Nature Center Way) and a free shuttle will be provided by Springfield-Greene County Park Board.

There is no registration for this event. Call the Springfield Conservation Nature Center at 417-888-4237 for details. Information is also online at mdc.mo.gov/node/287.

The Springfield Conservation Nature Center is located at 4601 S. Nature Center Way in Springfield.