At Howard County Conservancy, children build shelters for the woodland fairies

When you build a house for a fairy, sometimes you also have to build a guest house in case another fairy visits.

Who knew?

Such childhood invention and creativity came to the fore on Saturday, July 12, when the Howard County Conservancy hosted its third annual Building Woodland Fairy Houses for youngsters and their parents.

Audrey Suhr, volunteer chairman of the conservancy's program committee, said a record crowd of 115 turned out to probe the forest for likely places to construction a mini-habitation.

"This comes from my girlhood," she said. "We built fairy houses and I think many of our generation did."

What do fairies want? Just ask the kids — they know.

"What is exciting is to see the children's imaginations take off," Suhr said. "A piece of sycamore bark becomes a telescope. They see a pine cone and say, 'Look, a lantern.' "

Adults learned from the children that there are different kinds of sprites — water fairies, flower fairies, music fairies, garden fairies and more. Bark, twigs, pebbles and other items from the forest floor are fashioned into domiciles customized to each fairy's need.

And, sometimes mom and dad come in handy in assisting the little architects.

"We love seeing the adults and children working together," Suhr said.

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