Only volunteers' perseverance out-duels the rain

NEIGHBORS

April 17, 2001|By Betsy Diehl | Betsy Diehl,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

APRIL SHOWERS might bring May flowers, but they can wreak havoc on outdoor spring cleanups. Just ask Sue Neri, a member of Columbia Waterfowl Habitat and Advisory Committee and a participant in the group's recent cleanup at Lake Elkhorn and its connecting ponds.

"We said the cleanup was on, then it rained and it was off; then we stayed and cleaned when the rain stopped," said Neri, a resident of Owen Brown for 25 years. The original date for the cleanup was March 31, but that day's steady rain forced the group to reschedule it for April 7.

Even the alternate day got off to a soggy start. As the meeting time of 9 a.m. approached, a light mist turned to a soaking shower, and Neri said that many of the volunteers, including committee Chairman Walter Burlingham, were sent home. But as the group dispersed, the showers tapered off, and some of the remaining helpers decided to don their gloves and tidy up.

The committee implemented the annual cleanup five years ago in an effort to improve the habitat of some special residents - trumpeter swans. The swans, on loan from the Environmental Studies Program at Airlie in Warrenton, Va., reside in pairs on Lake Elkhorn, Lake Kittamaqundi and Wilde Lake. Committee members make it their mission to keep track of the graceful birds and ensure that they are safe and healthy. "We volunteers watch out for them," Neri said.

Committee members alternate their annual cleanups between Lake Elkhorn and Lake Kittamaqundi, and rely on the community for help. This year, they had assistance from members of Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, Boy Scout Troop 613, Cub Scout Pack 613 and friends, neighbors and passers-by, who felt compelled to lend a hand. Some of this year's volunteers included Sue Lorentz, Bert Moore, Linda Uphoff, Bob Herstein, Tina Horn, Lynne D'Autrechy, Kyle D'Autrechy, Andrew Wallace, Kathy Moore, Dale Moore, Dave Gayda, Phillip Gayda, Josh Gayda, Derek Magnuson, Christopher Finney, Neal Fedarko, Michael Fedarko, Michael Baum, Bill Hornung, Laura Watson, Stan Watson, Scott Stanek, Laurel Stanek, Lilly Zuberi, Marty Chestem, George Smeltzer, Kevin McCahill and Jaime Godfrey.

Neri said that the wet weather prevented the group from retrieving all the debris, so she plans to rally her neighbors when the conditions are drier. "It takes one neighbor to get the other neighbors. I'm going to get them out there. We're going to clean some more," she said, grinning.

Entertaining fund raising

Treat yourself to some good food and great music while helping a humanitarian cause Friday evening at Owen Brown Interfaith Center. Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia will hold a lasagna dinner to benefit the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, which promotes human rights throughout the world.

The meal is an appetizer for the highlight of the evening - live musical entertainment provided by east Columbia singer Cecelia Calloway, daughter of jazz legend Cab Calloway, and Alex Brown, a 14-year-old jazz pianist.

Lauren Haywood, trustee for programming and communications for the church, said that Calloway and Alex, an eighth-grader at Harper's Choice Middle School, met at the church's One World Coffeehouse program in October, where both performed. They have since played together on a number of occasions, including a recent gig at Eubie Blake Cultural Center in Baltimore.

The event begins at 7 p.m., and reservations are required for dinner. Tickets are $35 a person or $45 a couple. Tickets for the musical entertainment only, beginning at 8 p.m., are $12 and may be purchased at the door. Information and reservations: 410-964-0825.

Poetry slam

Combine poetry with performance and you have a "poetry slam." Combine a poetry slam with 30 middle school children and an energetic, international slam poetry champion and you have an event you won't want to miss. The east Columbia library will be host of an evening of slam poetry with poet-performer Gayle Danley and a group of Owen Brown Middle School children Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The pupils' performances will be judged by spectators. Registration is required.

Information: 410-313-7700.

Quilt show

The Milltown Quilters Guild, a local chapter of the National Quilting Association, is having its Biennial Quilt Show from Thursday through Saturday at First Presbyterian Church of Howard County. The show will feature a silent auction, raffle, quilting demonstration and items available for sale.

A donation of $3 is suggested for admission. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day except Saturday, when the show closes at 3 p.m.

Information: 410-730-4428.

Parting words

Marianne Pfeiffer, principal of Atholton Elementary School, says that a childhood trip to Washington, D.C., from her home near Chicago was one of her most memorable vacations. "That was the first I had seen all the monuments," recalls Pfeiffer, who was 7 at the time. "Getting to see all the sights was impressive."

Pfeiffer moved to Maryland as a teen-ager, but she still likes to find reasons to visit her favorite place whenever she can. "It's a good thing we have visitors," she said. "I like taking the tourists down to see the blossoms and the pandas."

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