Mount Airy, New Market sites are for the birds, other animals


January 25, 2002|By Lesa Jansen | Lesa Jansen,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WITH THE ONCE rural lands of southern Carroll County rapidly giving way to development, the Audubon Society of Central Maryland is striving to preserve a habitat for wild animals.

The group, which claims more than 1,000 members in the area, maintains two wildlife sanctuaries encompassing more than 270 acres.

"We're losing wildlife habitat by acres every year," said Bill Becraft of Mount Airy, volunteer manager of the Audrey Carroll Wildlife Sanctuary near Mount Airy and the Fred Archibald Sanctuary outside New Market.

"Many birds and other wild animals need wildlife areas," Becraft said. "Some species thrive in developed areas but other just cannot survive. There's no doubt in my mind that the only places for habitat at all will end up being little, very little, strips of land along a residential street."

Becraft and other Audubon Society members feel it's important to have untouched land preserved for wildlife.

One of the sanctuaries, 130 acres five miles northwest of Mount Airy on Old Annapolis Road, was donated to the Audubon Society 10 years ago by Mount Airy resident Audrey Carroll.

Carroll moved to the area as a retirement retreat in the 1960s from Washington. Carroll turned the land, which had been a dairy farm in the 19th century, into a wildlife refuge.

The small house built by Carroll remains today as a meeting center for the Audubon Society. The Pagoda House, as it is known, once was a landmark for travelers who could see vivid paintings of Asian scenes that decorated the exterior of the tiny house.

The Audrey Carroll Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife refuge for thousands of local species and a research and teaching center for the Audubon Society.

Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and 4-H groups have used the land for projects, including planting wildflower and butterfly gardens.

The property contains grasslands, wetlands, streams and forests. The Audubon Society has cut trails for hiking and nature study.

Access is by appointments only. The group opens the property to the public at its annual native plant sale of perennials, native shrubs and trees. This year the sale will be held April 27.

The other sanctuary is a 140-acre tract recently donated to the society. It is being assessed as a possible education center.

Information: Bob Schaeffer, Audubon Society of Central Maryland, 301-831-5660.

Scout food drive

On Feb. 23, Mount Airy Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts will launch what they hope to be their biggest food drive.

Mount Airy Boy Scouts Troop 460 will distribute collection bags to households in the town and surrounding areas on that date.

"Our goal is to collect 2,000 pounds of food for the Carroll District Food Bank," said Dan Kruhm, Troop 460 member.

This is the second in what pack leaders hope will become an annual food drive. Scouts will pick up bags filled with food March 2.

Information: Bill Blonkowski, 301-831-7935.

Senior tax help

Free tax preparation assistance will be available to qualifying senior citizens at Mount Airy Senior Center. Seniors must have an annual income of $55,000 or less.

Appointments will be scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Mondays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays.

AARP and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance members are trained and qualified to provide tax assistance.

The service is available only to senior citizens. Appointments must be made in advance.

Information and appointments: 301-829-2407 or 410-795-1017.

Lesa Jansen's Southwest neighborhood column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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