Calling all artists! The Howard County Conservancy seeks submissions for its fourth annual Art of Stewardship juried art show, which will run from Wednesday, March 12, until Saturday, April 9. During the opening reception on Thursday, March 13, a round table discussion will focus on this year's theme, "The Artist as Messenger."

Artists may create their work in any 2-dimensional medium or outdoor sculpture. The judges — Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, founder and director of the American Visionary Art Museum; Greg Mort, internationally acclaimed nature artist; and Anne Raver, gardening writer for the New York Times — will evaluate adult and high school artwork separately on both thematic and artistic excellence.

The submission deadline is Friday, Feb. 28, and the entry fee is $20. To register online or learn more, go to http://www.hcconservancy.org. Call 410-465-8877 with any questions.

Over the past several nights, you may have heard the West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department sounding Santa's arrival in our local neighborhoods. Two more nights of visits remain — Thursday, Dec. 19, in Sykesville (River Road, Howard Lodge Road, Indian Hill Drive, Windriver Drive, Coventry Court and Amberwoods Way) and Friday, Dec. 20 in West Friendship and Glenelg (Sharp Road, Old Rover Road, Danmark Drive, Tall Ships Drive, Roscommon Drive and Appleby Court).

If Santa must cancel due to inclement weather or fire department emergencies, he will use Saturday, Dec. 21, and Sunday, Dec. 22, as make-up days. To view the complete schedule, go to http://www.wfvfd.org.

As always, our local churches extend a warm welcome to visitors this Christmas Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 24.

Friendship Baptist will begin its services at 5 and 7 p.m. The address is 1391 Sykesville Road (Route 32), and the phone number is 410-442-5506. For more information, go to http://www.fbcmd.org.

St. James United Methodist, at 12470 Old Frederick Road (Route 99), in Marriottsville, will offer a service of lessons and carols at 9 p.m. Learn more about the church at http://www.saintjamesweb.org, or call 410-442-2020.

At Chapelgate Presbyterian in Marriottsville, candlelight services will begin at 6 and 8 p.m. The address is 2600 Marriottsville Road. Call 410-442-5800 with any questions, or go to http://www.chapelgate.org.

Next month, the University of Maryland and University of Delaware Cooperative Extensions will partner to offer Annie's Project, a program designed to empower women in agriculture. The eight-session course covers five areas of risk management — production, marketing, financial, legal and human resources.

Enrollees may take the course at one of six Maryland sites — Anne Arundel County Extension Office in Annapolis; Cecil County Administration Building in Elkton; Washington County Extension Office in Boonsboro; Wor-Wic Community College in Salisbury; Howard County Extension Office in Ellicott City and Baltimore County Ag Center in Cockeysville. Dates and times vary by location. For details, go to http://www.extension.umd.edu/annies-project.

The course costs $75, including meals and materials. Registration ends Friday, Jan. 10, and space is limited. Call 410-758-0166 with any questions.