Facilitators sought for senior groups

SPRING, a program of the Howard County Department of Citizen Services' Office on Aging, will offer its annual Initial Facilitator Training to prepare volunteers to lead support groups.

The eight weekly training sessions begin March 10 at the Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia. The cost is $30.

SPRING groups provide a confidential, comfortable setting for older men and women to share concerns, insights and ideas. Good listening skills and empathy are required. The groups are held at senior centers and other venues.

Sponsorship is available for up to three candidates interested in training. Facilitators receive a SPRING training manual and are invited to an annual facilitator luncheon.

SPRING is an acronym for Senior Peer Resources, Individuals, Networks and Groups. Information: Karen Hull, mental health coordinator, Office on Aging, 410-313-7466.

Naturalists will lead school group hikes

The Howard County Conservancy at Mount Pleasant Farm is seeking volunteer naturalists to serve as educators for the conservancy's school programs. The naturalists will help conservancy staff lead hikes on the 232-acre nature reserve in Woodstock, which includes woodlands, meadows and wetlands.

Training will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday and March 9, 16 and 23. Participants will receive a manual and learn about the ecology and history of Mount Pleasant. The cost for materials is $10.

The conservancy, a private nonprofit organization, is the county's largest land trust. Mount Pleasant Farm, where it is headquartered, is at 10520 Old Frederick Road.

Information or registration: Martha Moore, 410-465-8877.

Disaster readiness groups need helpers

The Volunteer Center Serving Howard County, in cooperation with the Community Emergency Response Network, is recruiting volunteers for local nonprofit and government agencies needing help with disaster preparedness and recovery.

Information: 410-715-3179.

Habitat Stewards training scheduled

Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks and the National Wildlife Federation will offer Habitat Stewards training next month to volunteers interested in wildlife, ecology, gardening and habitat conservation.

The Habitat Stewards will be available to help members of their communities develop and restore wildlife habitats in backyards, schoolyards and other public and private sites.

The training will provide familiarity with native plants, local natural history, butterflies and insects, birds, mammals and amphibians. Also taught will be skills in site inventory and mapping, gardening for wildlife and creating water features in a garden.

Training is scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. March 14, 16, 21, 23, 28 and 30, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 25, at Recreation and Parks headquarters, 7120 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia.

The cost is $35, including materials. Participants should take a meal for the evening sessions and a lunch for the Saturday session.

To retain certification, Habitat Stewards, who must be ages 18 or older, are asked to contribute 50 volunteer hours to the National Wildlife Federation and help with certification of Backyard Wildlife Habitat sites of at least three backyards or one schoolyard within a year of completing the training.

Applications must be submitted by March 7.

Information or to request an application: Brenda Belensky, 410-313-4724. Or e-mail bbelen sky@co.ho.md.us.

Club LEAP needs tutors, assistants

Volunteer tutors and assistants are needed for Club LEAP (Learning English After School Program), an effort to help youngsters who are new to the United States learn to speak, read and write English.

The program, sponsored by FIRN Inc., a Howard County nonprofit organization providing services to immigrants, is held in county schools throughout the school year. Training is provided.

Information: Don Downing, 410-992-1923, ext. 14.

Pregnancy-aid group seeks help

Better BedRest Inc., a nonprofit support, resource and referral service for women placed on bed rest because of complications during pregnancy, is seeking telephone volunteers who have had a bed-rest experience or a connection with such an experience.

An interview is required, and training is provided. Volunteers are also needed to help with fundraising.

Better BedRest expects to help as many as 15 Howard County women this year.

Information: 410-740-7662.

Send volunteer announcements to fay.lande@baltsun.com or fax to 410 715-2816.

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