NEW WINDSOR — The red colors bobbing up and down among the high weeds could have been a family of cardinals chasing each other on a hazy, summer day.
A closer look revealed a group of young Westminster boys, wearing red and olive green uniform caps.
Three Boy Scouts were following their leader across a 16-acre site along Turkeyfoot Run, a stream southeast of here.
Troop 381 Scoutmaster John J. Rush Sr. pointed out the different plants and animalsaround the woods, meadow and stream, grabbing a sprig of mint and inviting the boys to take a taste.
"There's a magnolia tree," he said. "Your moms can use its leaves for Christmas decorations."
He pointed out a lone gray hawk, searching for lunch in the waters of the stream. The boys jumped right into the game.
"I think I see a crayfish," said Andrew Dudderar, 14, son of Mary and John Dudderar.
"Grab him," said his 10-year-old brother, Matt.
Andrew tried, but the creature darted away: "Too fast for me."
Rush drove the boys across the site near Bowersox and Nicodemus roads to a pond.
"We aregoing to have a great time here," said Ryan Dodson, 14, son of Ron and Katherine Dodson. "Maybe we could take a day trip and backpack, following the stream back from Route 31."
Ryan called the pond and its surrounding woods the perfect site for a campfire and a nighttime game of Capture the Flag, a favorite with the 70-member troop.
"Maybe we could even make some kind of pier out to the island in the center of the pond," he said, calling to the others excitedly. "Guys, come here; I see fish."
The group was getting its first glimpse of asite that Rush hopes will become familiar to them during the five years they are leasing the site.
He and the Arundel Corp., owners ofthe land, signed a no-charge lease agreement last month. It gives the troop an opportunity to pitch its tents closer to home, using the Baltimore County company's "surplus property" for Scouting and campingactivities.
Miles never have deterred the Scouts. They often travel far and wide. Fifteen boys and parents are hiking through 50 milesof Wyoming wilderness next week, while the rest of the troop camps in Northern Virginia.
"We do a lot of camping and spend hours outdoors," said George Brewer, who often accompanies his son Jeffrey, 12, on Scouting trips. "We could use a local place for all this activity."
Through his employment at Arundel, Brewer knew about the recently purchased meadowland and wooded site. The company eventually plans quarry operations on the property, formerly the Bollinger farm, he added.
"The company won't be using the land for a few years," he said. "I knew the troop could make great use of it in many ways right now."
Frank Niner, Arundel's assistant property manager, called the plan, the company's first attempt at such a project, a great idea.
"Several employees are interested in Scouting," he said. "It was ourchance to be of service."
While Niner said Arundel inspects all undeveloped sites monthly, he said he had "all the faith in the world in John Rush."
Rush said he is most grateful
for the "new training ground," which he hopes will show "the compatibility of quarries with adjacent land uses." The construction of blue birdhouses is one of the troop's first projects on the site.