Volunteers bear down to help complete nature center

February 28, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Just 77 days before Bear Branch Nature Center's grand opening, volunteers busied themselves yesterday, installing cabinets for a nonfunctional kitchen and preparing exhibits.

Bill Barrows of Manchester helped put the finishing touches on a kitchen in the facility's exhibit hall, which will help children learn about recycling and minimizing waste. Money to build the kitchen -- complete with nonworking models of a stove and sink -- came from a $1,500 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund, Mr. Barrows said.

"The kitchen will show children that recycling is personal endeavor and really means something," said Mr. Barrows, a chemical engineer from Manchester. "Everyone has a kitchen." Behind the counters, inside the microwave or in the refrigerator, signs and displays will explain alternative ways to cook, clean the sink or throw away the trash.

Mr. Barrows was among 20 volunteers who showed up at the nature center, off John Owings Road near the Hashawha Environmental Appreciation Center, north of Westminster.

While Mr. Barrows oversaw a group working on the kitchen exhibit, others made leaves in the library to hang on a grapevine on the children's puppet tree and planned events for the grand opening, scheduled for May 15.

"We're working on ideas," said Heather Davis, the center's naturalist. "We're going to have all kinds of things going on -- tours, hikes, a ribbon-cutting with the county commissioners, face painting, maybe a hayride."

Ms. Davis said about 100 to 200 volunteers have been helping prepare the center for the grand opening during the past few months. Projects have ranged from building a puppet tree, hanging dinosaur heads for an exhibit, and cleaning and patching display cases.

"There's no way this place would be open in the near future without volunteers," Ms. Davis said. "We expected more people today but I think we lost some because of the weather."

Steve and Angie McDaniel of Melrose were among the volunteers who braved the cold.

"It's a good project," Mrs. McDaniel said. "We were science teachers for years. Getting kids involved when they're young is a lot easier than trying to convince people later that the Earth is worth saving."

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