Stevens Forest and Talbot Springs elementary schools in Oakland Mills village are two of the five Howard County schools lucky enough to have Metzler's Nursery as a "Partner At Large."
Dottie and John Metzler coordinate an educational, environmental garden program for the students with the able assistance of Metzler staff: Jeff Waters, Carol Dugan and Bob Hendrickson.
They visit the schools and encourage the students to enjoy the beauty of gardening and to work to help save their share of the environment.
Sometimes the classes visit the nursery for one-on-one experience with plants.
They are given literature to read and plants for gardens for practical experience for now and an interest to carry to adulthood. Whatever the science project, students also are given a discount on planting purchases.
"We have worked with high schools before this year," Mr. Metzler said. "We welcome any school's interest in the environment and are always here to help the students and their science teachers."
Metzler's is just one of the many local businesses working in an education partnership with the Howard County school system.
When Hurricane Andrew hit Dade County, Fla., many people and organizations sent food and clothing. Dasher Green Elementary and Owen Brown Middle schools went to work.
During September and October they collected and shipped close to five dozen boxes of school supplies and clothes to the Campbell Elementary and Middle schools in Homestead, Fla. Marion Payne, Owen Brown's principal, contacted a colleague, Winston Whyte, at the Florida middle school. He provided a list of needed items that included school supplies, flashlights, batteries and clothing. Students designed posters and distributed them throughout the village. The response was more than they had imagined.
The next step was getting the supplies to Florida. Owen Brown merchant Mike Spurlock of Parcel Plus Mail and Business Services loaded a company truck with boxes from Dasher Green Elementary, then processed and shipped them to Florida.
Dasher Green Middle School's Town Council advisers for grades six, seven and eight -- Carlyn Altman, Cara Cassell, Lisa Cerbone, Joyce Greene and Mike Morris -- organized the hundreds of items for packing. The eighth grade alone collected 430 items.
Wilhide's Florist Shop in the Dobbin Shopping Center came to the aid of Owen Brown Middle and saw to it that the school's collection made its way to Homestead. Good deeds abounded and united schools and community, too.
Stop at the Other Barn in Oakland Mills Village any weekday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and you'll receive a treat if you also bring non-perishable food with you. The village association has begun its annual food drive collection for the Howard County Food Bank. Select a can of food from your shopping bag or contribute some of the change in your pocket and you'll be helping a good cause. The food collection will continue until after the holidays.
Long Reach village needs "traffic checkers" to record license numbers of all vehicles using Tamar Drive and Route 108 during one day's morning and evening rush hours to determine traffic volume.
After meeting with Howard County highway officials, it was agreed that a survey of usage would be the best way to prepare for the expected increase in traffic when the new Route 100 links with Centre Park Drive, which changes name, becoming Tamar Drive after crossing Route 108.
The county will provide training and organization for the survey. The date will be determined by the availability of the volunteers. Interested? Call Kathryn Mann, 730-8113.
There's talent hidden at the Other Barn's Post Office in Oakland Mills village. Postal clerk Nancy Palus' contagious smile for customers brings smiles to children's faces, too. As Squeaky the clown she entertains children with balloon animals and games at parties, fairs and organization meetings. Next time you see her, return her smile and she'll pass it on to a child.
Cliff Nanton is another talented postal clerk. He spends his spare time photographing people and places. Some of his interesting photos were on display in the Oakland Mills Village Shopping Center display case this summer.
The village associations of Kings Contrivance, Long Reach and Oakland Mills have planned Hanukkah parties for children. On Dec. 16, Kings Contrivance will have its party for children, 4 to 8 years old, at Amherst House. Kidstuff's Miss Joanne and the Beast from cable television's TV Channel 6 will entertain the children from 4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. Admission is $3. Reservations are requested, 410-381-9600.
At Stonehouse in Long Reach, on Dec. 12, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., children 4 to 6 years old, will design and decorate menorahs. Children 7 to 9 years old will make dreidels from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Information: 730-8113.
At Oakland Mills' Other Barn, there will be games, crafts, magic and refreshments for children of elementary school age from 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., Dec. 14. In lieu of an admission fee, each child is asked to bring a new and unwrapped toy that will brighten another child's holiday. Reservations are requested. Please call, 301-730-4610 or 301-596- 5237.
Teens planning a holiday party can now rent a room at the Teen Center in Oakland Mills Village. The rental includes use of a kitchen, good dancing space, pool tables, table tennis, foosball and shot-clock basketball. Cost is determined by the needs of the party host or hostess. Information: 992-3726.