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Howard County briefs

Environmental program

Howard County will make free trees available as part of its "Plant (It) Green" program by launching "2010 MORE Trees in 2010." Beginning Monday, Sept. 13, each county residence will be able to sign up for one free native tree. Registration stays open until all the trees have been reserved. Order forms are available online at livegreenhoward.com and must be completed and submitted by 5 p.m. Sept. 22. Past free tree participants are not eligible. Trees will be available for pickup from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 1 or 7 a.m. to noon Oct. 2. Information: 410-313-6205.

Anniversary gala

The Columbia Foundation will hold its Dinner and 40th Anniversary Finale from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 27 at Ten Oaks Ballroom, 5000 Signal Bell Lane in Clarksville. Tickets are $70 per person. Information: 410-730-7840.

Endowment

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced that the Howard County Arts Council has been awarded a $12,000 Learning in the Arts for Children & Youth grant for its Head StART in ART program. The Learning in the Arts for Children & Youth Category offers funding to advance arts education for children and youth in school-based or community-based settings. Information: 410-313-2787 or go to hocoarts.org.

Auditions

•The Howard County Ballet will hold auditions for its production of "The Nutcracker" on Sunday, Sept. 12 at Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road in Ellicott City. Auditions are open to all area dancers. Dancers must be taking at least one ballet class at a local studio. Fee is $15. For audition times and reservations, call 410-465-9414.

•Red Branch Theatre Company, 9130 Red Branch Road, Columbia, will hold auditions for its December production of "Hansel & Gretel." Adult auditions will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, and 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sept. 20; children's auditions will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 9. All roles are open. E-mail redbranchtheatre@gmail.com with preferred date and time for audition. Everyone is required to bring a headshot and/or resume and a prepared musical excerpt (about one minute in length) that displays vocal range. Classical piece is preferable but not mandatory. Information: redbranchtheatre.com.

•The Fabulous 50+ Players will be performing an outreach program based on their show, "Fab 50s do the '50s," at the various senior centers in Howard County between October and December. Auditions will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 28 and Oct. 5 at the Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City. Information: 410-313-2787.

Tutors needed

A-OK (Assist Our Kids) Mentoring-Tutoring Inc. seeks adult volunteers to work in Howard County public schools and in after-school programs. Volunteers may work with individual students and/or small groups during and after school. Volunteers are asked to commit for one hour a week for a minimum of one school year. Among the schools the organization is associated with are, Oakland Mills Middle School, and Atholton, Bryant Woods, Longfellow, Phelps Luck and Running brook elementary schools. Information: 410-730-6030.

Conservancy seeks volunteers

The Howard County Conservancy seeks volunteer naturalists for its fall elementary field trip program. Naturalists assist conservancy staff during field trips by leading nature hikes. Fall field trips are offered during October and November, and volunteers are asked to lead a minimum of three hikes. Training takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, 23 and 30. Participants will receive a manual and learn ecological concepts as well as the history, plant life and wildlife of Howard County. Cost for materials is $10. Registration and information: 410-465-8877.

Fall classes

Registration is under way for the Howard County Arts Council's visual and performing arts programs at the Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road in Ellicott City. The arts council offers classes and workshops for children, teens and adults. Among the classes offered are acting, cartooning, sculpture, sumi painting, embroidery and photography. Classes begin Sept. 20 and run through Nov. 20. Registration and information: 410-313-2787 or hocoarts.org.

Council seeks members

The Community Advisory Council to the Board of Education is seeking at-large members for the coming school year. The council sponsors educational programming for members and provides the opportunity to study and have input into curriculum, educational policy, redistricting and budget.

Committee meets at 7:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month at the Department of Education in Ellicott City. At-large members serve a two-year term. Information: 410-313-6682.

Performing artist award

The Howard County Arts Council is accepting applications for its 2011 Rising Star Performing Artist Professional Development award. Competition is open to individual performers, ages 18-35, who live, train, work or perform regularly in Howard County or have done so in the past. Review criteria include artistic expression, technical ability and stage presence. Up to 10 finalists will be selected to perform at the council's gala celebration March 26. The audience of more than 500 artists, patrons, business and political representatives and community members will vote for their favorite performer; the winner receives a $5,000 award on stage. Information: 410-313-2787 or hocoarts.org.

Volunteers

The Howard County Conservancy is seeking Wednesday drop-in gardening volunteers from 9:30 a.m. to noon to help maintain thematic and native plant gardens on the property. All levels of experience are welcome.

Also, drop-in work days in the Children's Garden, located within the Community Gardens, are 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. the first and third Saturdays of the month, and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. the second and fourth Wednesdays. No experience needed. Meet at the Nature Center.

Information: 410-465-8877 or hcconservancy.org.

Theater workers needed

Red Branch Theatre Company is accepting resumes for costume designers, lighting designers and stage managers for the remaining shows this season. Send applications to Jennifer Spieler at jspieler1025@aol.com.

Panel seeks members

The Secondary Language Arts Advisory Committee, consisting of teachers, administrators, students, parents and other community members who advise, support and advocate for the continuous improvement of educational programs, seeks new members. The committee meets four times during the school year at a central location. Call 410-313-6620 for information.

Call for artists

Slayton House Gallery is accepting applications to exhibit for the coming season. Applications are available by e-mailing cjblack@columbiavillages.org. Information: 410-730-3987.

Children's services

The CARE Center for Child and Adolescent Resources provides free information to Howard County parents to find services and programs in the community for children and teens. Staff will help families identify needs and find solutions. Resource and referral information can cover areas such as community services, recreation and sports, financial assistance, support groups, drug or alcohol abuse, youth development, child care programs and more. Information: 410-313-2273 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Library resources

The Howard County Library will offer one-on-one tutoring at its branches.

Call a library branch to schedule a session, available at all branches unless indicated.

"Job Search Tools at the Library," a tour of databases, websites and periodicals as well as the business and career sections, will be offered at the Central Library. 410-313-7850.

"Mouse in the House: Family Web Surfing," a program for children 7 and older and adults that covers the basics of surfing the Internet and websites that are friendly to children.

"Open the Door to Open Office," a tour for ages 15 and older of the free software package that creates, edits and saves documents, spreadsheets, presentations and pictures.

"Research 24/7," a way to access full-text articles and other resources for school assignments, business or personal use from any computer.

"Surfing Basics for Seniors," hands-on practice in using the Internet, offered at the Central Library. 410-313-7800.

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