OUR NEIGHBORHOODS and surrounding areas look a little tidier thanks to local Scouts who have been cleaning and planting their way toward earning the Cub Scout World Conservation Award. Members of the Wolf Den of Pack 613 planted gardens, picked up neighborhood litter, participated in a conservation project and performed other tasks to meet the requirements for the Scouting award, said Kim Clayton, who co-leads the den with her husband, Rod, and eighth-grade assistant Andrew Patrick.
Last month, the Wolves took part in a conservation project called "Project Clean Stream" to clean streambeds in the Baltimore area, Kim Clayton said. The project is a joint effort by Irvine Nature Center, Jones Falls Watershed Association and Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks. Scouts Russell Clayton, Nicholas Coughlin, Eric Heinly, Jake Miller, Aaron Patrick and Bryce Jordan braved the damp weather April 7 to clean a stream in Strawberry Fields, an Ellicott City development.
Family members Jim Coughlin, Rob Heinly, Jennifer Miller, Seth Miller, Edward Patrick, Jeanette Patrick, Andrew Patrick, Katharine Patrick, Holly Crawford, Kim Clayton and Rod Clayton helped the Scouts collect 69 pounds of trash, 43 pounds of recyclables and one noteworthy item. "We found an old gas mask," Kim Clayton said.
Two weeks later, the Scouts - all second-graders - fulfilled the flowerbed-planting requirement for the award at their school. They assisted fifth-graders Hannah Vogel, Jocelyn Maughan and Amanda Cummins with a Type III project - planting butterfly gardens at Dasher Green Elementary School. "They helped with the digging," Clayton said.
But the biggest part of the job was distributing a truckload of mulch that was piled high on the school parking lot.
"It was not a pretty sight," Clayton recalled. "There were times we thought the pile was actually getting bigger."
Cub Scout Jarrod Montoya helped Russell, Nicholas, Eric, Bryce, Jake and Aaron mulch just about all the plants and trees in sight. The Cub Scout pack also donated a stepping-stone kit to the girls for the butterfly gardens, purchased with funds from a popcorn sale held this school year.
The boys continued to fulfill the requirements for the award by discussing issues such as recycling, pollution and energy conservation, completing a unit about fishing laws and safety, planting a terrarium and growing vegetables in a box garden.
Their hard work will come to fruition Thursday evening, when Russell, Nicholas, Eric, Bryce, Jake, Aaron and Connor Bellamy will be formally presented with the Cub Scout World Conservation Award at their Pack meeting. Russell's mother is proud of the boys, and she is hoping for an additional dividend from the project.
"All of Russell's vegetable plants are sprouting. Maybe he'll actually eat them," Kim Clayton said.
Long Reach High School music students traveled to Boston last month to compete in the Festivals of Music. High school groups from about seven states in the East competed in the April 20 event, head choral teacher June Pompei said.
Members of the men's choir, women's choir, concert choir, madrigals, jazz choir, jazz band, marching band, symphonic band and percussion ensemble brought back 18 trophies, including the William D. Revelli Grand Champion Award for Concert Band.
Three Long Reach seniors won specialty awards: John Hallis, outstanding vocal soloist; Lorien Brown, outstanding accompanist; and Sun Kim, outstanding jazz soloist. Pompei and Matthew Dubbs, the school's head band teacher, scheduled extra time for students and parent chaperones for sightseeing. "We toured Boston and Faneuil Hall. We tried to make it educational," Pompei said.
The musicians have their sights set on a musical competition next year at Walt Disney World.
This is the time of year that elementary schools gear up for a favorite tradition - Field Day. For Jess Duvall, program and camp coordinator for Long Reach village, Field Day always meant the annual attempt at the three-legged race.
"That just epitomizes Field Day," she said. Typically, no one practiced that type of race at any other time of the year, so it was both a treat and a frustration.
"It was always a loved and hated event because you always fell down," recalled Duvall, 27, who attended elementary school in Jackson, Miss. Over time, she discovered a strategy.
"The key was to have a partner the exact same size," she said. But even that did not always work.
"By the end, just about everyone hit the ground," she said, "but it was such a sweet victory if you did win."