Assistant scoutmaster recognized for chestnut tree conservation


Lt. Col. Richard Barnes was presented the prestigious William T. Hornaday bronze medal for distinguished service to conservation during Boy Scout Troop 75's Court of Honor this month.

The award recognized Colonel Barnes' 36 years of dedication to reforestation of the American chestnut tree, which before the turn of this century covered more than 9 million acres (one-fourth of the Eastern hardwood forests). Most of the American chestnut trees died because of a fungus.

His interest in conservation began while he was a member of Philadelphia's Boy Scout Troop 203. He obtained pure and cross-bred seeds from experiment stations and nurseries. After germination in flower pots, the seedlings were transplanted at Treasure Island Boy Scout Camp in the middle of the Delaware River north of Trenton, N.J.

Each year, he takes members of Troop 203 to camp at Treasure Island.

As assistant scoutmaster with Columbia's Troop 75, he works with the Scouts in attaining their Eagle rank, which he also holds.

The Hornaday Award is presented by the New York Zoological Society in honor of its first director, who was a pioneer of U.S. natural resources conservation.

Army Colonel Barnes works with the Defense Department's Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Office on cases of missing U.S. service members.

The Court of Honor was important to Troop 75's Scouts, too.

Scoutmaster Pat Roth accepted the "Guardian Member Award" on behalf of the troop for its financial contribution of $1,000 for Friends of Scouting. The money came from donations from Scouts' parents.

Rank advancements were earned by Bryn Johnson and Jonathan Leshin (life); Aaron McWethy and Danny Roth (star); David Moore (first class and bronze medal award); Matt Murphy and Joe Nuffer (second class); Brad Anderson, Andrew Rabinowitz and Jonathan Tebeleff (tenderfoot); Brandon Alinger, Patrick Griffin, Sean Griffin, Troy Kerr, Greg Shivley and Brian Wisniewski (scout).

Talbott Springs Elementary School has winners, too. In a contest sponsored by the National Association of Women in Construction, several children received honors.

Sean Kendig's construction design in "Block Kids Building" won first place. The second-grader won a $25 gift certificate from Toys 'R' Us and the opportunity to be in the National Association of Women in Construction's regional competition.

The project was sponsored, supervised and judged by association members. Fourth-grader Robbie Robinson won second place, and third-grader Judith Sarkodee-Adoo won third place. Each was given a Toys 'R' Us gift certificate.

Honorable Mention awards were presented to: Nicholas Johnson, Weikerken Altema, Megan Ryan, Betsy Rulison and Keli Anderson.

Howard County Recreation and Parks staff members will be at the Owen Brown village board meeting March 7 to discuss plans for the Elkhorn Neighborhood Park, which is being planned for the intersection of Oakland Mills Road and Homespun Lane.

The 7:30 p.m. meeting will be at the Owen Brown Community Center, 6800 Cradlerock Way.

* Information: 410-381-0202.

Next Tuesday evening, there will be a public forum on homelessness in the Senior Center Room at the East Columbia Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Owen Brown village.

Many area churches as well as shelter and domestic violence organizations, will be represented; co-chairmen Constantine Bitsas (Careerscope) and Robert Mulderig (Community Action Council) will discuss the status of their work and needs.

Information: Howard County Board on Homelessness, 313-6316.

The Stevens Forest Elementary School's PTA and administration will hold a "Parents' Forum" Thursday at 7 p.m. Sandra Marx, special education director for Howard County schools, will present an overview of the proposed use of Stevens Forest Elementary as a site for seriously emotionally disturbed students, who are now at Waterloo Elementary.

Parents who wish to voice their opinions on the proposal may speak for three minutes and are asked to sign in when they arrive. The county Board of Education will decide where to put the program. After the forum, plans will be coordinated for testimony at the school board's March 7 public hearing.

Parents of children with special needs may be interested in a six-week behavior management course, "Guiding Your Child," taught by social worker Chaya Kaplan. The course, sponsored by the Howard County Association of Retarded Citizens, will be held at 9220 Rumsey Road, Suite 105, Oakland Mills village, beginning March 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Information: (410) 730-0638.

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