KICK UP YOUR HEELS Saturday for a 1950s and 1960s dance at Taneytown Fireman's Activity Building on Memorial Drive. The event is sponsored by Francis Scott Key High School Class of '74.
"Our class holds several fund-raisers each year to help offset the costs of our reunions, which are held every five years," said Joan Rodkey, one of the planners.
Rodkey said that instead of charging a lot of money to attend the reunions, several class members decided to start holding fund-raisers.
Rodkey and classmates Sandy Grable, Diane Morningstar and Linda Six, all still in the area, begin planning for the dances two to three months in advance.
"We have to get the tickets made up and also begin advertising," she added.
The dance will be held from 8: 30 p.m. to 12: 30 a.m. Saturday and costs $7.50. The cost includes setups, pretzels and chips and music by disc jockey D-Man.
Pupils build wetlands
Seventh-grade science isn't what it used to be.
Gary Gysberts, a seventh-grade science teacher at New Windsor Middle School, makes science come to life, literally.
Last week, pupils from the sixth, seventh and eighth grades braved cold, gray, nasty weather to plant 400 shrubs as part of a wetlands project behind the school.
The wetlands is a 3-acre area that includes four ecosystems: forest, shrub, emergent and permanent wet. The purpose of the project, according to Gysberts, is to restore and improve this wetlands and to re-create a habitat vital to many native animal species. The project will filter pollution and retrieve nutrients from runoff in this area. It will also serve as an educational tool.
Last year, the pupils began planning the project. As part of the application process, the pupils had to put together a slide show for the Maryland Department of the Environment showing what they planned to do.
Sarah Marble, 12, of Uniontown was one of the pupils who helped with the slide show.
"We had to research all of the wildlife and the plant life that existed in the area," she said.
MDE awarded a $50,000 grant for the project, said Jill Reichert, an environmental specialist with the state Department of Natural Resources. Reichert helped the pupils during the planting.
The grant money helped purchase 16 varieties of plants from Clear Ridge Nursery Inc. in Union Bridge. In addition, a disabled-accessible walkway/boardwalk and observation deck will be added.
The wetlands project was designed by Terry Coblentz of the Maryland Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the DNR, the Soil Conservation District and the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
"This has really changed my attitude about science," said Lauren Myers-Bromwell, a seventh-grader from Union Bridge.
Lauren was one of the pupils who put 400 tags next to 400 plants and made sure they were labeled correctly.
Brian Johnson, an eighth-grader from Union Bridge, said the science project has been meaningful to him.
"I've learned a lot about the environment, taking care of it and monitoring it," he said. "It will be fun to come back in two years and see how it is doing."
For Gysberts, the project, which won a Governor's Green School Award last spring, has opened up learning possibilities.
"I have been real pleased with the students' enthusiasm and ability to enhance the environment," said Gysberts. "The thing that excites me the most is the possibilities in the future, to use as an educational tool."
Annual blood drive
Keysville Lutheran Church's annual blood drive is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the church.
The church's goal is 50 pints of blood, said Becky Engel, a longtime church member who has volunteered to coordinate the drive. Engel estimates the church has been conducting the drive for about 10 years.
"I think it is a good cause," Engel said. "You never know when you will need blood yourself."
Engel said the blood drive is being done in conjunction with the American Red Cross. Information: Becky Engel, 410-756-6795.
Jean Marie Beall's Northwest neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.