The Howard County Public School System announced two new partnerships, one between Forest Ridge Elementary School, in North Laurel, and Mother Nature's, an independent nature store in Columbia, and another between the system and TriColumbia, the Columbia Triathlon Association.

Under the first partnership, Mother Nature's will provide bird guides and bird feeder supplies to the Project Feeder Watch program for fourth-graders. The program is designed to introduce students to the natural world.

Experts from the store will give yearly presentations to the students, offering information on birds such as their habitats, behaviors and identification.

Under the partnership with TriColumbia, elementary, middle and high school students will be introduced to the triathlon experience during physical education class. TriColumbia will collaborate with instructors to pilot a triathlon for fourth-graders at Talbott Springs and Hammond elementary schools, sixth-graders at Burleigh Manor and Wilde Lake middle schools and ninth-graders at Glenelg and Long Reach high schools.


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Each triathlon will be appropriate for the students' ages and fitness levels.

TriColumbia will also sponsor 25 scholarships for the triathlons, to be awarded by instructors at each participating school.