Organization's goal is back to nature in Mount Airy


January 12, 2001|By Christy Kruhm | Christy Kruhm,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A NATURE CENTER is the ultimate dream for Donna Williamson and members of Mount Airy Naturalist Society.

If you ask Williamson to describe her dream, she would say she envisions the nature center with trails and a pond in a pastoral setting in Mount Airy. She dreams of a place where children could study wildlife, where plants and wildlife would thrive, and a place where the community could appreciate nature.

Led by Williamson, the naturalist society's small group of volunteers is dedicated to the conservation and preservation of natural habitats in hopes of benefiting the wildlife and people of Mount Airy. The group believes that through its efforts, the environmental health, property values and standard of living will greatly improve for Mount Airy residents.

In keeping with the group's objectives - creating, preserving and enhancing natural habitats - the naturalist society recently completed several projects.

With community donations of plants, mulch and a butterfly box, a butterfly garden was planted at Mount Airy Daycare. The garden provides a natural habitat for native butterflies and birds. A children's garden map was drawn to help identify plants and wildlife.

Before construction began on Mount Airy's Wal-Mart, the naturalist society stepped in and "rescued" tree seedlings from the construction site. About 30 pine, cherry and maple seedlings were removed and given to local residents.

The group hopes to perform similar tree rescues on other construction sites.

Plans are under way to create a bird garden at Mount Airy Senior Living Center. The garden also is designed to attract hummingbirds.

Williamson is applying for a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. If awarded, the grant would be targeted for planting trees and bushes around the Wal-Mart.

Another long-term project involves working with town officials to produce public information on residential and commercial growth and its impact on nature and the quality of life.

A self-described wildlife enthusiast, Williamson says that the success of the naturalist society depends on the public's support. The group needs donations of plants and supplies and volunteers to help with projects. She says to realize the dream of a nature center in Mount Airy, the first step, and probably the biggest one, is the donation of land.

The group meets monthly at the Mount Airy branch library.

Information: Donna Williamson, 301-607-9263.

PTSO update

Although its membership is small, South Carroll High School PTSO makes up for its size through the hard work and dedication of its volunteers.

This has been a busy school year. The PTSO has made donations to school groups, helped buy equipment and sponsor events.

One of its recently completed efforts was the purchase of a school sign for the lawn. With donations from area families, merchants, school clubs and profits from several fund-raisers, such as raffles, the PTSO raised about $5,000, enough to buy the sign.

Additional projects included a $3,000 contribution to the Maryland Equipment Fund. The money, with matching funds, was used to help upgrade the school's math lab. To help the Chorus Boosters purchase performance attire, the PTSO made a $500 contribution to the group.

PTSO President Bobbie DaCosta says the organization is planning several spring events.

The PTSO will sponsor a spring fashion show to showcase prom and casual fashions.

A large-scale project is under way to purchase a sound system for the school's stadium. This project is an effort between the PTSO and the school's band and athletic boosters. Fund raising is expected to begin with a silent auction in March.

PTSO membership is open to any parent of a South Carroll High School student. No membership dues are charged.

Information: 410-751-3575 and leave a message for Bobbie DaCosta.

Renaissance dinner

It will be hard to recognize the cafeteria at South Carroll High School after its transformation into a medieval banquet hall for the school's annual Renaissance Dinner.

Sponsored by the high school's chorus department, the dinner will feature entertainment, elaborate food and flaming desserts. The dinner is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 20.

Performing in small and large groups, the school's choruses will present juggling acts, puppet shows and short drama skits and plenty of music to complete the evening.

Tickets are $5.50. All proceeds benefit the purchase of chorus uniforms.

Information: South Carroll High School, 410-751-3575.

Christy Kruhm's Southwest Neighbors column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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