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Ray Roberts Lake State Park hosts Spring Fling

Ray Roberts Lake State Park hosts Spring Fling

By Martin Edwards

Staff Writer

       The Johnson Branch Unit of the Ray Roberts State Park hosted its annual Spring Fling event on Saturday to celebrate the start of spring.

       Visitors joined with the rangers at the park’s Nature Center to participating in various games and activities.

       Although Saturday’s program coincided with a wetter-than-usual day, the festivities continued.

       “Today’s event is going better than expected,” Park Interpreting Ranger Izzy Mabry said. “We knew the rain was going to play a big [factor]. We were determined to not cancel it and do everything we could to move it inside or have the programs earlier.”

       Beach yoga, which was held at the start of the event before the rain hit, provided a flexible start to the day.

       “Being able to be flexible [was key],” Mabry said.

       Most of the events and vendors were set up under the 3-year-old Nature Center’s roof.

       That shift “made it possible for, instead of programs getting canceled, them to be modified to where we can still do something and park guests can still be active during the day versus feeling hunkered down,” Mabry said.

       The festivities were geared around educating participants on the natural world and on the various teams that help keep their park running smoothly.

       “Normally our table groups are in the parking lot, but with the rain coming, I gave them the choice if they wanted to be out there or if they wanted to be in here, inside,” Mabry said.

       Aquatic Education Specialist Keira Quam operated a macroinvertebrate exhibit that allowed visitors to get up close and personal with some of the park’s tiniest inhabitants.

Ray Roberts Lake State Park hosts Spring Fling

       Samples of water, plants and insects were gathered in a clear specimen bin that gave viewers a glimpse of the world beneath the surface of the water.

       The Texas Master Naturalists were also on hand sharing information about their organization and looking for potential new members.

       “This is one of the biggest volunteer organizations in Texas for the Texas Parks and Wildlife [Department],” member Lin Hamilton said. “They have a huge army of people that assist in anything nature.”

       Texas Master Naturalists help keep parks clean, protect wildlife and offer educational programs for the kids.

       With multiple chapters all over the state, Texas Master Naturalists can be found in a wide variety of locations, with a member from the McKinney chapter happening to stop by the table.

       Outside of the vendors, games and challenges took place around the nearby pavilion.

Ray Roberts Lake State Park hosts Spring Fling

       Families took part in popping bubbles and sack races.

       Johnson Branch Assistant Office Manager, Celia Flores, helped get the ball rolling with arts and crafts projects once the activities shifted inside the Nature Center because of the rain.

       Games also continued indoors where Tyler McCullough challenged Mabry to a lengthy tumbling blocks match.

       Multiple families and visitors passed through the event, with some even using the opportunity to take refuge from the weather.

       The day concluded with an activity called seed bombing.

Ray Roberts Lake State Park hosts Spring Fling

       Mabry instructed participants to combine potting soil, red clay and various types of flower seeds into two to three balls.

       The balls were then thrown into the garden outside of the Nature Center.

       Mabry hopes that the process will facilitate the restoration of the area’s natural flowers and encourage butterflies and hummingbirds to return to North Texas.


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