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Audubon Society to hold nature walk, bingo events to be held

Audubon Society to hold nature walk, bingo events to be held
The Barred Owl is one of the birds participants can be on the lookout for during the nature walk at the Audrey Carroll Audubon Sanctuary, in Mount Airy, Jan. 16._- Original Credit: Crystal Kunst/submitted photo (HANDOUT)

Everyone knows that birds fly south for the winter.

But Crystal Kunst, member of the Audubon Society of Central Maryland, a nonprofit that maintains two bird sanctuaries in the state, said those who participate in the society's nature walk from 9 to 11 a.m. Jan. 16 at the Audrey Carroll Audubon Sanctuary in Mount Airy might be surprised to see just how inaccurate this common belief is.

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"There are a lot of birds that stay all year round," the Manchester resident said. "Even robins and bluebirds stay all year long, and we of course have the winter birds that come, like the white crown sparrows, fox sparrows, and juncos — that's what we are hoping to see this month."

Located at 13030 Old Annapolis Road, the sanctuary consists of 129 acres of diverse habitats, according to its website, and Kunst said the walk will follow several mowed pathways throughout the sanctuary grounds.

"It can be very exciting," she said," but depending on the weather [the birds] could go into hiding, but for the most part we see 20 to 30 species each time we go out; that's our range."

Kunst, who has led similar nature walks for the past two years, said registration is not required and the event is free to attend.

"The groups are getting bigger; we usually get 20-some people on these walks," she said. "We are getting a following now; not a lot of first-timers. They are finding this very exciting and want to keep coming out."

Kunst said those who are planning on attending should come prepared — especially considering the weather.

"We advise you to dress for the weather and perhaps wear waterproof boots," she said. "You have to get up early to see these birds because after that they aren't active until late in the afternoon. Definitely bring binoculars or cameras."

For more information about this and future nature walks at the sanctuary, visit www.centralmdaudubon.org/naturewalks.htm.

Bingo fundraiser

During the winter months, many sports fans are prepping for the NCAA's March Madness Tournament or planning their Super Bowl parties.

But the Maryland Cyclones, a local under-18 fast pitch softball team made up of high school students from the South Carroll area, are doing what they can to prep for their season — and the continued athletic excellence of their players — with an upcoming Coach purse and Pandora bracelet bingo event scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Mount Airy fire company's activities building at 1008 Twin Arch Road.

"We go out and buy real Coach purses and Pandora bracelets," said Stacey Carroll, mother of two softball athletes and one of the organizers of the event. "Each game is assigned a prize, so game one might be this Coach purse, or game two might be this Pandora bracelet. The smaller Coach purses also include gift cards, and everyone on the team has to bring door prizes to make sure it's a successful night. So anyone who likes purses or bracelets would like to have these."

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, but Carroll, of Taylorsville, said those who'd like to attend should buy their tickets sooner rather than later.

"Last year we sold out in advance," she said. "So I would definitely recommend registering soon."

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Carroll said this is the second year the team has held the fundraiser. Last year they were able to net $5,000, she said, and she is hoping they can at least meet that amount.

"It's amazing that this kind of event could raise that kind of money," Carroll said. "Last year, the coaches didn't understand how [fundraising] worked. I said, 'Trust me, just sell the tickets and [those attending] will buy the extra game cards because people get into the fun of the night whether they win or not.'"

There will be 26 games total, three of which will include special prizes, as well as three raffles, she said. The team will also be giving out door prizes, so there will be many chances to walk away with a prize, Carroll said.

All proceeds will be used to help the team travel to Bloomington, Indiana, for a national event they qualified for after the results of last season, Carroll said. And in some respects, it's even more crucial for these girls to attend these type of events compared to other sports, she said, because other sports, especially men's athletics, provide lucrative professional opportunities.

"It's not like baseball," Carroll said. "A lot of these girls play to be a part of a team and to get an education."

To buy tickets or for more information, contact Carroll at staceyandtroy@gmail.com.

Boosters bingo night

It must be the time of year for bingo because the Century Athletic Boosters, a group of parents who support the high school's various athletic programs, are also preparing for a bingo night scheduled from 5:30 to 10 p.m. in Century High School's cafeteria Jan. 30.

"Every year we have a bingo event; it's one of our primary fundraisers," said Sue Pluta, former vice president of the boosters and mother of a Century senior.

Tickets cost $15 in advance and $18 at the door, Pluta said. Prizes will depend on the donations, but usually include Longaberger baskets, Vera Bradley and Thirty-One bags, as well as other merchandise and gift cards to local shops and businesses, she said.

"They are themed, so one might be a barbecue bag, another might be beach-themed, and they typically are filled with $100 in merchandise and gift cards," Pluta said.

The boosters will also be holding two raffles at the event which usually include larger, more expensive items as their prizes, she said.

Local business vendors will be at the event, and concession stands will be serving food and drinks, Pluta said.

The goal is to raise $5,000, which will be used to fill the gaps in the school's sports operating budget in order to purchase uniforms, new scoreboards, trophy cases and equipment sheds, and perform field maintenance, Pluta said.

"The school's budget couldn't afford to do all this, and with budgets being as tight as it is, it's nice that these organizations can step in and help to support those areas where there are budget shortfalls," she said.

Tickets can be purchased by contacting Pluta at 410-795-9083 or by email at s.pluta@comcast.net.

Wiley Hayes covers the South Carroll area. He can be reached via email at

phone at 443-286-1606.

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