Cuttin' gourds in the canyon

Gary Moskowitz

HILLSIDE DISTRICT -- Patrick Dougherty is proud to say his 8-year-old

son, Matthew, designed and cut the family pumpkin almost all by himself,

and that the scary-faced jack-o'-lantern will sit ominously on the

Doughertys' front porch until Halloween.

The Dougherty family was one of several who attended a pumpkin-carving

event at Stough Canyon Nature Center Saturday afternoon during which

pumpkins were designed and cut for Halloween with the help of the nature

center's staff.

"It was a lot of fun, and it's a special time for me and the kids to

spend together," said Dougherty. "We had a blast. We also got to take

advantage of everything they have to see at the nature center."

Dougherty said he and his wife, Linda, and their sons Matthew and

12-year-old Marcos also learned about coyotes, raccoons and reptiles that

live in the Verdugo Mountains. With the help of plaster casts of

footprints, kids and adults could see what the real animal footprints

look like.

Nature center staff made sure to instruct those who attended about

safety precautions when using sharp-cutting tools, and assisted children

with cutting if necessary.

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