FRANCES MASON, whose great-grandfather Orsen Adams was one of the founders of Trinity on the Pike Church in Elkridge, is working to turn an old cow pasture into a meditation garden.
"It's just been sitting empty next to the church," said Mason, 82. "There are so many football parks and baseball parks and so forth. We thought it would be nice to have a park where people could just go and sit."
The goal for the 3-acre parcel is to add a 20-foot lighted gazebo, benches, a walkway under a canopy of trees and areas of evergreen trees and natural grasslands.
Mason's daughter-in-law, Lynn Mason, is director of the Meditation Garden Committee, which is working to bring the vision to reality.
"Gardening is my thing," said Lynn Mason, who is a landscape designer and holds a degree in plant science. "I was standing out there one day, I was thinking, `Gosh, what a waste.'"
Other committee members are the Rev. John "Skip" Steiner, Marjorie Schulenburg, Ron Brown, Pat Cullison, Terri Smith, Marie Keller, Carl Goodman, Laura McClung and Sarah Shannon. The group generally meets after church services on Sundays.
Lynn Mason put pen to paper about a year ago to design the garden and begin fund-raising efforts. The committee sent fund-raising letters to businesses around the church because they would benefit from the garden.
"The garden could be used for groups, weddings, receptions, office meetings or picnics," the letter said.
Lynn Mason said only a small percentage of surrounding businesses have responded, but she hopes interest will pick up once work on the park begins.
"The whole idea is for them to be able to come and have lunch in a peaceful place," she said.
Though the whole project may cost $40,000 or more, there's enough money to install the gazebo and an iron fence by the end of the summer, she said.
The fence used to run along U.S. 1, but it was removed because of renovations to the road. It is about 200 feet long and 5 or 6 feet high, Lynn Mason said.
When the Episcopal church was founded in 1857, it was in a rural area. Now the church, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is an oasis of green amid an asphalt tangle of roads and businesses.
"We're just this little patch of green, and there isn't much green anywhere else," Lynn Mason said. "We want to preserve that, not just for us, but for everybody."
Frances Mason may be the most enthusiastic supporter of all. She noted that the gazebo would be a memorial to her family, now in its sixth generation as members of the church.
"The whole thing is to keep open space and parks," she said. "The world is developing, so there won't be any if we don't do something to preserve it."
For a fourth year, Ellicott City Girl Scouts have created Easter baskets for children who are ill.
Jaclyn Leaf, Sarah Reardon and Christine Mattingly of Senior Girl Scout Troop 2137 created 140 baskets, which were taken to young people at local hospitals, including Johns Hopkins and Children's National Medical Center in Washington.
The baskets were filled with such items as books and small toys donated by merchants. Over four years, the girls have created and donated 527 Easter baskets.
The girls are freshmen at Mount Hebron High School in Ellicott City, and parents wondered if they would continue with the Scouts, said Sarah's mother, Colleen Reardon.
"This campaign is the primary reason for the girls to continue in Girl Scouting," she said. "Their goal is to create more than 1,000 [baskets] before graduating high school."
Four students at Centennial High School were winners at the state level of the PTA-sponsored national Reflections contest.
Freshman Grace Yeh took second place in music composition; senior Jeff Markey placed third in his year in music composition; sophomore Amy Hu placed third in visual arts; and junior Cara Yang placed third in her year in visual arts.
Reflections is a national contest that encourages students to express themselves through art. Students who win at the county level move up to the state level, and state-level winners go on to compete on the national level.
St. Augustine School will hold a spring fling from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at the parish hall on Old Washington Road in Elkridge.
The event will include games, contests and raffles.
Food will be served all day, including a grilled lunch prepared by Cub Scout Pack 1111 and menu items from Z'Tejas restaurant in Columbia, prepared by chef and operating partner Melia Stopia.
Proceeds will benefit the school.
Information: Mary Ellen Carroll, 410-796-1226 or Laura Rousseau, 410-498-6459.