Who, who, whooo wants to walk in the woods at night and search for owls?

Watertown High School’s Expedition Club explores Belmont’s Rock Meadow Conservation Area


Raider Times photo / Malcolm Cooke

Watertown High’s Expedition Club poses during its recent night walk through Belmont’s Rock Meadow Conservation Area.

Jaylyn Le and Mufleha Hossain

On a dark, eerie school night, as many were in their cozy homes, this group of Watertown High students, along with English teachers Will MacLaughlin and Malcolm Cooke, have just started their journey.

At Belmont’s Rock Meadow Conservation Area, members of the Expedition Club filled the parking lot, getting ready for a night of adventure.

Once everyone arrived, the search for the owls began. From a pitch-black field, the heavy fog weighed upon the students as they started to make their way deep into the forest. The ground beneath and the path ahead a complete mystery to them.

A member of Watertown High’s Expedition Club during the recent night walk through Belmont’s Rock Meadow Conservation Area. (Raider Times photo / Malcolm Cooke)

“SOMEBODY TURN ON THE FLASHLIGHT!” People cried out as they tripped over rocks and roots left and right. Until, AH HA! A cemetery. Apparently deep into the woods, on
the way to their destination, there was an abandoned cemetery. As they looked to their left, a still tall tree loomed over them. Rain began to run down their heads as it started to drizzle. They could almost hear the cries of those buried a few feet away from them.

A sign that was illegible in the night. A few shivers and shakes. They continued their walk, heading to a nearby lake. After more trees and muddy ground, there was some light at the end of their path. There was a stunning lake waiting for them. The street lights on the other side glistened over the stagnant water. Everyone’s excited chattering came to a stop as they took in the view in front of them.

Suddenly, everyone whipped out their phones to capture the beauty in front of them.

“Everyone gets a group photo for the Expedition Club Instagram!” called Mr. Cooke.

The camera flashed in everyone’s eyes, contrasting with the pitch-black background (A rad photo).

It was time to head back, the journey was coming to an end. But, it wouldn’t be an Owl Prowl without trying to find any owls. The group made its way back to the cemetery. Mr. MacLaughlin pulled his phone out and played his owl call playlist on Spotify.

Silence. Only the sound of the trees shuffling responded along with chirping from small critters.


But wait, what was that noise? An owl? A monster? Was the Expedition Club finally in the presence of an owl?

No. Just someone dropping their phone into the mud. It was 8 p.m. The Owl Prowl had officially come to an end.

Students one by one started to leave the dimly lit parking lot, not before getting Halloween treats from Mr. MacLaughlin. They ate, leaving no crumbs behind on the forest ground before heading off. That was the best Owl Prowl without any actual owls ever.

–Dec. 3, 2022–