Panther Creek Park features frights for all ages in October

September 27, 2005

By Joe Ford For the Messenger-Inquirer

It's been an exciting summer in the Daviess County parks. Activities ranged from ball games (to determine tournament winners) to fireworks celebrating Independence Day. Of a quieter nature, visitors enjoyed hiking along the nature trails or the fun of the cool water in the "water park." Yellow Creek Park maintenance assistant Bruce Williams tells me that the water park was packed all summer due to the unusually hot and humid weather. This special feature is scheduled to close Sept. 30. Daviess County parks as a whole shift into winter operation Nov. 1. On that day, the park locations officially close at 5 p.m. Present closing time is 11 p.m.

Yellow Creek Park is showing considerable improvement. The Pioneer Village has a new log barn and two smaller structures that are possibly corncribs. Two new open-air mini-shelters (playground station and train depot) have been constructed for family groups that don't need the larger shelters for their picnics.

Williams told me that in spite of the growing population of Owensboro, the park staff frequently see deer, turkey and too many geese. The geese become a problem in both parks if they are allowed to linger too long. Unlike ducks, geese like to graze on the lush green grass on the ball diamonds and their large droppings can create problem for the players.

Congratulations to Joel Williams. He borrowed his dad's bow and arrow and went deer hunting the first day of the season. He saw three small bucks, but he wanted a better trophy. Before the day had passed, an eight-point buck strolled within range and Williams had his trophy with one well-placed arrow.

Daviess County Parks Director Ross Leigh wants to invite everyone to attend the FAMILY Fright Nights Oct. 20-22 at Panther Creek Park. I capitalized the word "family" because there will be excitement for all ages. It is true that some children enjoy the trail established for adults, but if you want your children to sleep well, take them on the youth trail Oct. 22. For the exact hours for the spooky activities, call the parks department at 685-6142.

Leigh tells me that any nonprofit group may submit an application to participate in collecting gate receipts for this year's Christmas Lights Show at Panther Creek Park. To secure an entry form or for additional details on this money-making opportunity for your group, call Leigh at the above number.

Jerry Owens and about a dozen more people called with questions about the large hornet-like insects flying around their yards. These creatures are called cicada killers. I have never known of a human being stung by one, but each year we receive questions concerning them. These large insects dig holes in the ground to store cicada for their young to consume. True hornets that sting anyone construct a paper nest in trees or shrubs.

Visitors to the two major county parks ask the name of the flowers that they see. The yellow blossoms are goldenrod and a plant called wingstem. The snow-white blooms are snakeroot or an aster. The golden or orange flowers are touch-me-nots. This latter plant deserves its name, because the ripened seeds will burst out of the pod when lightly touched.

When I make a mistake, I usually correct it by contacting the person with the question. Recently a schoolteacher brought a fossil for me to identify. A student had brought it to her. It was an excellent specimen, and I thought it resembled a marine animal called a crinoid. I goofed. Both the teacher's fossil and crinoids are called echinoderms; the fossil was more like the well-known sand dollar.

Sorry teacher. You may make me do more homework in the future.