THANKS TO their school mascot -- a tiger -- pupils at West Friendship Elementary School are learning about the habits of tigers in the wild.
Principal Sandra McAmis decided to expand the mascot's school-spirit role to include academics.
Last year, the pupils researched different kinds of tigers. Each grade selected a species after which to name its pod -- the grouping of classrooms for a grade. The tigers chosen were Javan, Sumatran, Siberian, Saber-toothed and Bengal for grades one through five, and cubs for kindergarten.
This year, McAmis said, pupils collected $120 to adopt six tigers in the wild through the Hornocker Wildlife Research Institute, which is affiliated with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The donation was used to pay for the placement of radio collars on six wild tigers. The institute monitors the tigers, and notifies the pupils when a sighting is made.
"The hope is that the tigers are not captured, and that they remain in the wild where they can be studied," McAmis said.
The Hornocker Wildlife Research Institute is also involved in habitat preservation programs.
The school received framed certificates for each tiger adopted by the children. One of the certificates includes a photo of a tiger named Misha, and the acknowledgment that the school is an "Official Protector of the Siberian Tiger which inhabits the Russian Far East."
West Friendship received a cash award of $200 from the National Association of Fund-raising Executives. The pupils voted to donate the money to the Save the Tiger Fund -- a joint effort of Exxon Corp. and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
In its letter of thanks, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recognized West Friendship as "a school where conservation education and efforts toward saving the tiger have taught children a lifelong lesson."
Included with the letter were bookmarks with a tiger photo and facts about the animal. Each pupil received one this month, on Read Across America Day.
This week, the children painted tiger paw prints on the walls inside the school, in keeping with the tiger theme and this year's motto: "Walking together toward a greater tomorrow."
Art teacher Cheryl Teter said that every pupil will have a paw print on the wall representing a personal or academic goal set by the child at the beginning of the school year.
Planning our neighborhood
County Executive James N. Robey visited Western Howard County Senior Center March 18 to discuss development plans in the Glenwood area.
Speaking to a standing-room-only crowd, Robey explained that plans include a new community center with about one-quarter of its space dedicated to activities and services for senior citizens. Construction of the 30,000-square-foot facility will begin in July 2000, and be completed in 2003.
Some of those in attendance expressed skepticism about the schedule and concerns about whether it could be followed.
"I can't sign in blood," Robey said, "but my plan is to make this project happen when it's supposed to."
The current senior center is in a former residence known as Allen House, on Route 97 just north of Carrs Mill Road.
Grading and drainage work is being done on that property for construction of the Glenwood branch of the Howard County Library. According to the center's senior center users, parking is inadequate and the driveway to the building needs improvements.
Director of Recreation and Parks Gary Arthur, who attended the meeting, said a temporary parking solution will be created as soon as possible. He discussed interior renovations to Allen House that would provide space for large gatherings until the new center is built.
Several members of the audience expressed concern over the proposed gas station at Route 97 and Carrs Mill Road. Robey encouraged them to direct their concerns to the Board of Appeals or to work with Republican County Councilman Allan H. Kittleman.
Traffic planners are seeking citizen input on proposed changes in our neighborhood, too.
The Howard County Department of Public Works is examining the intersection of Ten Oaks and Triadelphia roads to determine if improvements are needed. Residents are encouraged to make suggestions and express concerns.
Anyone with comments regarding engineering changes, such as regrading or a roundabout, should write to Elizabeth Calia.
Comments on traffic improvements, such as a four-way stop, should be directed to Bill Malone.
Calia and Malone are at the Howard County Department of Public Works, 3450 Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City 21043.
Pub Date: 3/25/99