Group's walks aim to cultivate caring for nature


October 16, 2001|By Betsy Diehl | Betsy Diehl,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

DON'T TRY to tell Sue Neri that ignorance is bliss. She believes that a lack of awareness can be destructive, especially when it comes to wildlife.

Neri notes the fatal shooting last spring of a beloved female swan on Lake Elkhorn. In April, Patty, a female trumpling swan and Columbia resident since 1989, was killed by two BB gunshots to the head as she warmed seven eggs in her nest, Neri said. At age 19, the swan was older than the juvenile charged in her death.

"The swan killing was a result of unawareness," said Walter Burlingham, who has served as president of the Columbia Waterfowl and Habitat Advisory Committee (CWHAC) since its inception in 1989. "If we can get the kids interested in nature, perhaps we can prevent something like this from happening again."

The incident prompted Neri and fellow CWHAC members to take action in raising children's awareness about nature. Volunteers of CWHAC (pronounced the way a duck would say it) established a nature walk program for children and parents.

"We want to teach kids to appreciate nature," Neri said. The hope is that appreciation will foster a sense of environmental respect and deter vandalism against wildlife.

Neri typed up fliers advertising the free walk and posted them around Owen Brown, where she has lived for 25 years. The first walk was held Sept. 29, under the tutelage of CWHAC volunteers Sue Lorentz, Lilly Zuberi, Neri and Burlingham.

"None of us are experts, but we're interested in nature and know a little bit," said Burlingham, a retired airline employee and avid outdoorsman.

The four volunteers guided 13 area residents on a two-hour expedition around Lake Elkhorn and the connecting Forebay Pond, noting the wildlife they observed in a handbook put together by volunteers.

Participating in the walk were Lauren Bateman, John Koenig and children Erica, Natalie and Lindsay; Jenny Harris and children Kim and Mike; Norman Seidelman and daughter Jessica; and Lynette Mark and children Maureen and Andrew.

The group identified species pictured in the handbook, such as egrets, herons, butterflies and swans, but also came across the unexpected, such as the clams that were revealed by the lake's recent drawdown. "I didn't know the lake had clams. I don't know how they got there," Burlingham said.

Burlingham and Neri held a second nature walk Sunday afternoon. The group included Liz and Julie Mason, Mary Grace Grandfield and Kim Harris, who returned for a second time.

CWHAC members hope to schedule more walks in the spring. Information: 410-381-7140.

"Columbia is full of people that walk the paths," Burlingham said. "The more they know about the environment, the better off Mother Nature is."

`Classy' coffeehouse

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation will present jazz singer Cecelia Calloway at Saturday's One World Coffeehouse at Owen Brown Interfaith Center. Calloway, daughter of jazz legend Cab Calloway, and her band will perform her "Sassy and Classy" hits from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Doors will open at 7 p.m.

The concert will serve as a recording session for Calloway, who lives in east Columbia. Advance orders for a compact disc will be accepted at the concert. Refreshments will be available for purchase. Tickets are $12; children to age 12 will be admitted free.

Information or to reserve tickets: 410-964-0825.

Investing seminar

Are you watching the value of your retirement account drop like the autumn leaves? You might want to sign up for the east Columbia library's Thursday seminar, "Investing with Confidence."

The program is tailored to women, but husbands, sons and brothers may find the information insightful. Kings Contrivance resident Deborah Owens, author of Everywoman's Money: Confident Investing, will share the fundamentals of investing and discuss some of the challenges women may face when preparing for a financially sound future.

The program is to run from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Owens' books will be available for purchase and signing. Registration is recommended but not required.

Information: 410-313-7700.

Parting words

Kelli Shimabukuro says fall was her mother's favorite time of year. "She liked the changing colors and the crispness of the air," said Shimabukuro, who is manager of the east Columbia library.

As a child in Akron, Ohio, Shimabukuro viewed autumn as a rather tedious season that had to be endured before the festivities of the winter holidays could begin.

But her attitude toward fall has transformed since 1997, when her mother passed away. Autumn "makes me think of her," Shimabukuro said.

And because the fall reminds her of her mother, "now I can appreciate it. I understand what she meant," Shimabukuro said.

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