A love of animals takes girl to L.A. summit


May 15, 2002|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

JESSICA HUBER LOVES animals, even those she hasn't seen.

The elusive bog turtle, an endangered native of Hampstead, is one animal she cares about even if she hasn't been face to face with one. Her essay on saving the bog turtle caught the eye of judges who selected her to be one of more than 50 girls and boys to attend the Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom Kid's Summit on Conservation.

Jessica, 12, and her parents, Kate and Bob, returned to Manchester on Thursday after their free, three-day whirlwind wild animal tour led by television animal show hosts in Los Angeles.

Jessica returned with memories of almost rubbing shoulders with orangutans and reptiles, and finding a water buffalo and a waterfall in the ballroom for the opening reception.

"Behind the scenes at the zoo, I actually fed an elephant a carrot. They're gentle," Jessica said.

While at the Los Angeles Zoo, each child, representing the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Mutual of Omaha, was interviewed on stage. Each was asked to share his or her ideas with the parents and children in attendance.

"I think it's fascinating how the turtle can be so little and how it lives in places where people don't notice it," Jessica said.

In her essay, and on stage in Los Angeles, she suggested that landowners with marshy land, which is the habitat of the ancient species, plant beneficial wildflowers instead of draining wet meadows.

Some of her ideas were gleaned from the time she spent this year at Carroll's Outdoor School, where instructor Mary Hoy introduced the reptile. Jessica wrote the essay after her mother heard about the contest on the radio, and Jessica found details for the contest, open to ages 9 to 12, on the Internet.

Jessica discovered she had a few fans in L.A. A representative from Animal Planet had read about Jessica's essay in The Sun and sought her out, as did Jim Fowler, animal handler for the Wild Kingdom show. He helped her handle the albino python, hedgehog and gray wolf.

"It was a wonderful, educational experience. Jim Fowler and everyone was very interactive with all the kids," said Kate Huber.

The summit included attending a production of The Lion King, passes to Universal Studios, dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and an animal skit at the zoo about recycling in which live animals played the parts.

"The people there were just so willing to talk about the environment and so complimentary of the kids," Huber said. "I was so impressed. This was a group of kids who were so on the ball, so well-behaved and intelligent. I feel privileged that Jessica was one of those who wrote essays," she said.

Ceramics for bonsai

Finksburg potter Terry Whye is featured in an exhibition, Bonsai inSites, Collaborations Between Tree and Container, at Baltimore Clayworks through May 25. The exhibition pairs 15 professional ceramic artists with 10 bonsai artists to show the relationship between the hand-built ceramic containers and the carefully sculptured living trees growing in them.

A workshop on the basics of creating bonsai will be held at Clayworks from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It will be taught by bonsai artist Arschel Morell, who has bonsai on exhibit.

Whye will offer a four-session workshop in creative raku-style pottery starting June 6 for youths and adults. All materials and firing are included in the lessons. Information: Terry Whye, 410-374-9661.

The bonsai and ceramics exhibit that includes Whye's works is sponsored by the National Bonsai Foundation, Friends of the National Arboretum and Potomac Bonsai Association.

Information: 410-578-1919.

Jellies featured on Web

Jill Gebhart started stirring homemade jam and jelly three years ago as a home business so she could keep a watchful eye on her three young boys.

Now that she has quadrupled her daily production, she employs three people to make 40 products. The lawn outside her new Hampstead gift store and jam shop has become a traffic-stopping display of flower baskets and plants.

This month, her success as a businesswoman is featured by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development on its Web site, Good News Maryland.

To find the article about Gebhart, go to www.choosemary land.org, choose "Press Room" and "Good News Maryland Snapshots." The Web site highlights members of Maryland With Pride, a state program that offers free marketing and trade show exposure to companies with Maryland-made products. Jill's Jams and Jellies are carried in more than 200 gift shops and craft stores in her hometown and on the East Coast.

Information: 410-239-7433.

Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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