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Marriottsville /Sykesville/Woodstock: Frisky's volunteer writes book about human nature by observing monkeys

Ellicott City resident Heather Wandell has volunteered at Frisky's Wildlife & Primate Sanctuary, in Woodstock, for the past eight years. As director of community outreach, she has been one of the first faces visitors see when they tour the facility, and as a certified laughter leader with the World Laughter Tour, she is especially well-equipped to work with the public: Wandell knows how to see the lighter side of life and share cheer with others.

Although her background includes both a conventional bachelor's degree in business administration and a less conventional master's degree in the applied healing arts from Tai Sophia Institute, Wandell has managed to meld her seemingly disparate life experiences into an entirely new and perfect venture — a book, titled "Monkey Business – 37 Better Business Practices Learned Through Monkeys."

Wandell says that she "began to sense a deeper awareness of the human connection with nature" while working on her master's degree. Not only had she interacted extensively with humans in the workplace, but at Frisky's, she had observed two dozen monkeys that were governed primarily by their instincts.

Guess what? She noticed some similarities.

She consequently began writing about her observations in a monthly column for The Simian Magazine. Her book is a compilation of those columns.

On the back cover of the book, Wandell lists 10 ways in which her observations may help readers, such as breaking down barriers, gaining a new understanding of relationships and considering new possibilities. Additionally, the book will benefit Frisky's since a portion of the proceeds from each sale will go to the sanctuary to help pay for wildlife rehabilitation, vet bills and other expenses.

Frisky's is a nonprofit organization that runs entirely on donations from the public and volunteer assistance — no workers receive a salary. For more information, go to http://www.friskys.org.

To learn more about Wandell, go to http://www.anotherwaytoseeit.com. Her book, "Monkey Business – 37 Better Business Practices Learned Through Monkeys," is available for purchase at Amazon.com.

The Howard County Fair has almost arrived!

This year, it runs from Saturday, Aug. 4, through Aug. 11. The experience is not complete for my kids without rides on the Midway, fried dough, and baby animals in the Kids & Critters Barn.

I, however, always gravitate to the Home Arts Building, where I admire the delicious-looking baked goods and row upon row of glass jars filled with colorful jams and freshly canned produce.

If you would like to learn safe techniques for canning your garden's bounty in this manner, the University of Maryland Extension will offer a food preservation class at the fairgrounds on Thursday, Aug. 9, from 9 a.m. to noon, in the 4-H Activities Hall. The class costs $35, and participants will receive a copy of the book "So Easy to Preserve" plus additional handouts and materials for a hands-on canning activity. (Fair admission is separate.)

Registration and payment must reach the Howard County Extension Office, 3300 N. Ridge Road, Suite 240, in Ellicott City, today, Thursday, Aug. 2. For more information, email Rebecca Davis at rdavis3@umd.edu.

The Howard County Conservancy will offer two free programs this month.

First, a Wonder Walk, titled Amazing Monarchs and Other Butterflies, will take place Aug. 11, at 10 a.m. Dr. Michael Raupp, a University of Maryland professor of entomology, will explain about the monarchs' bright color, their diet of milkweed juices, their incredible long-distance migration and other fascinating facts. The program will be held rain or shine.

The conservancy will also host its annual Night Sky/Dark Sky: The Perseid Meteor Shower from Aug. 11, at 10:30 p.m. until Aug. 12, at 2 a.m. Dr. Alex Storrs, a Towson University astrophysicist, and local "Stardoc" Joel Goodman will team up to teach about galaxies, constellations and ways to limit light pollution; and sky watchers will have a chance to search for meteors as the earth passes through a debris cloud left by the Comet Swift-Tuttle. In case of rain, the program will move indoors.

To learn more, go to http://www.hcconservancy.org or call 410-465-8877. The conservancy is located between Woodstock Road and Bethany Lane, at 10520 Old Frederick Road (Route 99), in Woodstock.

The fall sports season for Marriotts Ridge High School begins Aug. 11, and most coaches will collect the requisite paperwork from their student athletes Aug. 10, 4-6 p.m., in the school cafeteria.

Athletes must provide a copy of their current physical examination, dated after April 1, 2012; an athletic participation form; a copy of their birth certificate; and proof of residency, such as a current utility bill. They must also submit to concussion testing prior to their first practice (except for golf and cross country).

All necessary forms are available at http://marriottsridge.net/sportsInfo.php. Any questions should be directed to the coaches, whose names also appear on the Marriotts Ridge website.

This week's Sykesville Concert in the Park is a charity fundraiser featuring Carroll County-based JoeyDCares Rock Orchestra. Up next week: oldies band Pet Rock.

The concerts run from 7 to 9 p.m. at Millard Cooper Park every Friday during the summer. Free parking can be found across the street at Sykesville Middle School. Go to http://www.sykesville.net for more information.

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