Ice Cream Social showcases conservancy's progress on project


June 15, 1998|By Sally Voris | Sally Voris,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

STRAWBERRIES, locally made Hoffman's ice cream and a walk 'round the farm on the first Saturday in June have become a tradition at Mount Pleasant.

Mount Pleasant, an environmental preserve supervised and partially owned by Howard County Conservancy Inc., is used for environmental and historical education.

The 80-acre tract is at Old Frederick and Woodstock roads.

Each year, the conservancy holds an Ice Cream Social to showcase the progress that it has made restoring the property, bringing together those who have contributed time and money to the project.

This year, more than 400 people attended.

Joyce Kelly, the group's president, reported that the conservancy had touched the lives of 2,000 students this year by partnering with the Living Classrooms Foundation, and reached 200 individuals in other programs.

The conservancy recently hired Liz Stoffel as its director.

For the past two years, the board has honored Mount Pleasant's outstanding volunteers.

Kelly presented Kathleen Shelor, Dennis Luck and Jesse Benton with hand-drawn sketches of birds to recognize their volunteer work.

Benton, a senior at Glenelg High School this year, volunteered at Mount Pleasant to fulfill his community service requirement.

Master gardeners from the Howard County Extension Service have worked to restore the grounds for the past six years.

Each year, they have organized pressed-flower craft projects in the Carriage House during the ice cream social.

Their efforts are coordinated by Joanne Russo of Marriottsville.

The Longfellow Garden Club, the Howard County Garden Club, the Cross Country Garden Club and the Friends and Flowers Garden Club have completed gardens around the house and near the blacksmith shop.

The blacksmith shop was restored by members of the Howard County Antique Farm Machinery Club.

John and Burgoyne Frank demonstrated blacksmith techniques at the Ice Cream Social. They will offer demonstrations at the third annual Farm Heritage Days at Mount Pleasant on Sept. 26 and 27.

The conservancy was founded in 1991 as a local land trust.

In 1993, it negotiated a complicated agreement involving the Department of Natural Resources and the heirs to the Mount Pleasant property to gain title to about 80 acres surrounding the house and outbuildings.

The farm had been in the Brown family since Patuxent Ranger Thomas Browne chose the land as his own after surveying the headwaters of the Patuxent River in 1692.

His last direct descendants, Ruth and Frances Brown, taught school in Howard County for a total of 97 years.

Both women were active in the community.

Ruth Brown read stories to children and judged babies at the Howard County Fair for many years.

Some folks remember these baby-judging contests and how Brown arranged so that every child was recognized as special.

In her will, Ruth Brown requested that the farm, its nine historic outbuildings and its bicentennial tulip poplar tree be preserved.

Her wish has been carried out. Not only has the farm been preserved, but board members, volunteers and staff have worked to restore its gardens, grounds and buildings.

"It's a marvelous property and we are absolutely delighted that it is preserved," said Jim Eacker, Ellicott City resident and president of the conservancy for its first seven years.

The conservancy is recruiting volunteers to identify and propagate antique garden plants, monitor streams and bluebird boxes, collect more information about the Brown family and participate in other projects.

For information, call Stoffel at 410-465-8877.

Recognizing students

On May 31, the Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park held a Student Recognition Day for students from Howard County public schools who had worked on independent projects there this spring.

The Patapsco Female Institute -- one of the most famous schools for girls in 19th-century America -- educated young women from across the United States in music, languages, history and the sciences.

The park recently formed a partnership with the Howard County public school system to help students appreciate local history and highlight the institute's contributions to women's education and the community.

Kimberly Baker and Kasie Von Briesen of Deep Run Elementary presented their project, "Fashion of the 1800s."

Students from Mount Hebron High School, directed by social studies teacher John Hoffman, submitted their project that was set up in the Vaughan Brown Native American Culture Center, on the basement level of Mount Ida, the institute's visitors center.

Also participating were students from Bushy Park Elementary vTC School, Glenwood Middle School, Mount View Middle School, Oakland Mills High School and Talbott Springs Elementary School.

Some presented research projects, played period music or read poetry.

Others portrayed historical characters, including Jefferson Davis, Patapsco Female Institute students, their family members and teachers, and a headmistress and headmaster.

Another offered a virtual reality tour of the original institute building.

Proud families

Two families in Ellicott City can be proud of their sons' service in the military.

Jim Skarbek, son of Jim and Jacqueline Skarbek, is a naval flight officer stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va.

Skarbek flies the Navy's premier jet fighter, the Tomcat, and trains replacement pilots and radar intercept officers.

He is a 1985 graduate of Mount Hebron High School and a 1990 graduate of the University of Maryland.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class David B. Brecht, son of Barbara Brecht, is an explosives-ordnance disposal technician and a marine mammal handler based in San Diego.

Brecht has completed training on how to work with dolphins.

The dolphins are taught to detect underwater objects and alert their handlers. The dolphins mark the location, then Navy divers retrieve the object.

Pub Date: 6/15/98

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