ON MONDAY MORNING, and again Monday afternoon, the kindergarten classes at Spring Garden Elementary in Hampstead formed a circle outdoors.
At the center was an assortment of plastic and screen-wire boxes. Inside the boxes, tiger-striped wings fluttered.
This was Monarch butterfly release day.
"Which way is Mexico?" asked kindergarten teacher Sylvia Griswold, and the children whirled to point south.
"They have a long way to go," said one little girl.
Monarch butterflies annually take an instinctive journey to the warm climate of Mexico, joining thousands of others on an ancient migratory flyway along the Appalachian Ridge.
The children's butterflies had been carefully observed for several weeks for a hands-on science unit now in its fourth year at the school. Learning to observe change included new words, facts and ideas the children drew, sang and discussed.
They made egg-carton caterpillars munching construction paper milkweeds. Journals were kept to record what was happening.
First, there were striped caterpillars that stuffed themselves silly on milkweed leaves.
When the munching stopped, the puffy caterpillars inched upward -- to the ceiling in the room and to the roof of other cages -- to dangle by hindmost feet in a "j" shape.
Each caterpillar then spun a green capsule around itself, complete with a row of jewel-like golden buttons. The enigmatic chrysalis stage had begun.
Within 10 days, each inch-long chrysalis would yield the orange-and-black-striped butterfly.
Several capsules opened Thursday. You could see folded wings inside the others, which had turned almost black by that time. By Monday, all the butterflies yearned for the open sky.
In the October sunshine, the children sang the butterflies a song.
"Goodbye, butterfly, we're glad to set you free."
Teachers Sue Lussier-Jones, Vivian Smith and Sylvia Griswold opened cages one by one. The children watched the brilliant wings test the open breeze.
"Mexico is that way. The butterflies can smell it," said one junior scientist.
"That one's going by way of the freeway," said another, as an energetic Monarch flapped its wings over Boxwood Drive, it's long journey begun.
Nightmare on Main Street
Later this month, members of the Lineboro Volunteer Fire Company will invite the public for a hayride. They hope it will be a nightmare.
For five horrible nights, from Oct. 27 through 31, the fire company's Haunted Hayride will roll among every Halloween creature they can dream up.
"We're trying to make it really scary," said Wayne Short. He said there will be more than three miles of frights on a route that begins at dark.
Rides stop at midnight Friday and Saturday, and 10 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday. All ages are welcome. Cost will be $3 for those ages 9 and up and $1 for children under 8.
Refreshments for the spooked and the stoic will be sold at the fire hall each night.
Business group to meet
Dorothy Gaspar will play host to the monthly meeting of the Hampstead Business Association
tonight at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held at State Farm Insurance, 4500 Black Rock Road, Suite 2C, Hampstead.
Volunteers are being sought by the business association for committees on education, history, welcoming new residents and membership.
Information: Dr. Todd Winebrenner, 239-4000.
Fire company craft fair
If it's autumn, it's time for the Indoor Fair by the Lineboro Volunteer
Fire Company. Mark your calendar for Oct. 20 and 21 for crafts, great homemade food, music by the Alesia-Lineboro Band, carnival games and much more.
BThe Indoor Fair is the occasion for drawing raffle winners. On the Oct. 21, the $3,000 Giveaway winner will be drawn. Tickets are still available at $1 each or six tickets for $5.
Likewise, on Oct. 21, the winner of the gun raffle will be drawn. Tickets are available at $2 each or three tickets for $5.
On Oct. 20 at 7 p.m., costumed children are welcome to participate in the annual Halloween parade. The route, from the fire hall to the fire chief's house, and back again, includes costume judging for cash prizes in five categories.
Information: Matt Warehime, 374-2197.
Jaycees plan fund-raisers
The Jaycees will be raising money through such activities as selling Wolfgang brand candy, cooking pit pork on Hampstead Day, and possibly selling Christmas trees this winter. A raffle for a basket of cheer is currently under way.
"We're raising money now, to work with Social Services to pick several families that could use help," said Bobbi Hartlove, president of the North Carroll branch. "At Thanksgiving we'll actually provide a meal for four families, and we'll sponsor four families with children at Christmas. We raise money for that, and then go shopping. We do try to make it fun."
The North Carroll Jaycees meet monthly, every third Thursday, at 7 p.m. at the Hampstead Town Hall. The current 20 members are seeking additional members, ages 21 to 40. A teen group may also be formed soon.