IN OBSERVANCE of Earth Day, the Pointers Run Elementary School PTA organized three projects to benefit animals and beautify the Pointers Run neighborhood.
Lesli Ancona, a member of the community service committee for the PTA, helped coordinate the school's efforts.
"We wanted to find ways that were local to celebrate Earth Day," she said.
The PTA organized a neighborhood cleanup day April 15. Pointers Run families were encouraged to pick up trash in the community's tot lots, open spaces and from roadsides.
Ancona also organized an "Endangered Animals Penny Drive." She estimates that the schoolchildren collected at least $75, which will be donated to the Baltimore Zoo.
In another project, pupils collected blankets, towels and toys for the animal shelter run by Howard County Animal Control. Ancona said the PTA chose this project because members felt it was something the children could relate to.
"Kids love animals," she said.
On April 14, Ancona brought her children, Nicolas, 6, and Emily, 3, as well as Jamie Nussbaum, 10, and Nicole Nussbaum, 8, to the shelter to deliver the donated supplies.
"The people at the animal shelter were blown away," Ancona said.
Janet Calhoun, adoption coordinator for the animal shelter, said that because animals have their bedding changed daily, there is always a need for donations. The shelter also welcomes donations of toys and treats for cats and dogs.
Information about donating to the animal shelter: 410-313-2780.
Supraja Murali, a seventh-grader at Harper's Choice Middle School, won second place at the state level in the Letters About Literature contest.
The contest is sponsored by Weekly Reader Corp. and Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. More than 1,200 schoolchildren from across the state submitted letters written to an author of a book, poem or essay that changed their lives.
Pat Bates, coordinator for Maryland Center for the Book, said, "I think the most important aspect of the contest is to see how well students make connections with characters in books and how they relate them to their own lives. The letters from the students make me realize what wonderful children we have and how we should treasure them."
Supraja wrote to Lois Lowry, author of "Number the Stars," a book about a young girl's experiences during the Holocaust.
Supraja said the story "made me think about life in a different way. It seemed like I should be more thankful for what I have."
In addition to winning a $60 gift certificate to Borders Books, Music & Cafe, Supraja will join other winners and state semifinalists at an awards ceremony in Annapolis next month.
Wilde Lake resident honored
Martha Lee Garrison was recognized for 50 years of service at the Howard County League of Women Voters annual meeting Monday.
At the meeting, Garrison was presented with a certificate of appreciation and a letter from Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins, the league's national president.
"I have found that I received more than I gave in service to the league," Garrison said. "I admire so much the leadership and yeomanship of the members who dig out the facts for the education of the voters."
In 1994, Garrison published a book, "Martha, Child of the Prairie 1917-1934," about her experiences growing up on a sheep ranch in South Dakota.
Garrison lives in Wilde Lake with her husband, Carlton Garrison, who also is a member of the league.
Kids Fest 2000, a one-stop shop of services and programs for children, will take place at The Mall in Columbia from 10 a.m. to 9: 30 p.m. Saturday.
More than 50 exhibitors will display a wide range of resources for families. Entertainment is scheduled throughout the day.
The event is sponsored by the Howard County Department of Citizen Services and the Local Children's Board in partnership with community and business sponsors.