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Chattahoochee hears a hoot: Nature hike draws 200



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Park Ranger Jerry Hightower rallies up the kids before heading off on a hike along the Chattahoochee River. JULIA POTAPOFF. (click for larger version)

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Eryn Dignam holds up a pair of owl tassels after the informative presentation about the barred owl. JULIA POTAPOFF. (click for larger version)

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Elizabeth Huth holds up the owl arts and crafts project that she made before the hike. JULIA POTAPOFF. (click for larger version)

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Evan Barhard, a volunteer at the Chattahoochee Nature Center, walked around with a pair of owl wings for the audience to touch. JULIA POTAPOFF. (click for larger version)
November 21, 2012
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — There were plenty of hoots at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area Nov. 10, and it wasn't just from the owls.

As more than 200 people made their way through the wooded area for an eventful owl program, they were greeted by a jolly park ranger, Jerry Hightower.

After everyone had satisfied their sweet tooth with the slew of ready-to-roast marshmallows, they sauntered toward the recreation center where they ran into naturalist Camille Scent and her wide-eyed friend, the barred owl.

Scent held the owl on her arm and explained that the animal was brought to the Chattahoochee Nature Center 10 years ago with a fish hook stuck in her wing.

"All of the animals that we have at the nature center are injured animals that we have rescued," Scent said.

Scent then brought out a great horned owl.

Children in bright jackets sprung their hands into the air to ask questions about the owls' eating habits and bone structure; they were surprised to discover that an owl has twice as many neck bones as a human.

Scent said the best thing about the owl program is that the animals introduced live in Georgia.

"So, even though people hear them on a regular basis, they may not know what animal they belong to, and that's where we come in," she said.

Hightower then led hikers through the woods as he pointed out different animal sounds and what to look for when on a hike.

After the 400-meter hike, people made their way to the campfire to sip cider as the coyote howls declared that the night was coming to an end.

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