Marriottsville/Sykesville/Woodstock: Howard County Conservancy has some spooky fun in store in October

October has arrived and so too has the countdown to Halloween. If your child adores slightly spooky critters, the Howard County Conservancy will offer the perfect program at 10 a.m. on October 8: "Creepy Creatures: Bats, Toads, Worms, Spiders, Snakes... Ooooooo!" This indoor Wonder Talk will feature Shannon Davis, a naturalist with the Oregon Ridge Nature Center, and several warty, slimy, hairy, scaly, slithery animal friends! Wonder Talks and Wonder Walks take place at the Conservancy on the second Saturday of every month and are free.

The following weekend, Conservancy naturalist will guide a free family walk through the site's beautiful meadows and woods Oct. 15 at 10 a.m. This hike has no predetermined theme – it will remain open to discovery and surprises – and it presents a good opportunity for those who have not yet explored the Conservancy's trails. In case of rain, go to for instructions.

The Conservancy's address is 10520 Old Frederick Road (Route 99) in Woodstock, and the phone number is 410-465-8877.

Congratulations to the September band Musicians of the Month at West Friendship Elementary School! McKenna Beavan (percussion), Joseph Biegel (percussion), Jonathan Bitterli (tuba), Tyler Brandt (tenor saxophone), Elisabeth Degenford (alto saxophone), Alex Lindahl (flute), Nick Randhawa (trumpet), and Owen Reider (clarinet) have worked hard on their musicianship and demonstrated positive attitudes. Way to go!

The Marriotts Ridge High School science department seeks judges for its annual science fair, scheduled for Jan. 25 (snow date is Jan. 31). Judges will receive an orientation and then evaluate 10 to 15 projects using the guidelines provided. Time slots available are 8 to 10 a.m. or 10 a.m. to noon and the awards ceremony will take place in the media center from 6 to 7 p.m. that evening.

If you have a background in science, math, engineering, or related areas and would like to assist, contact science paraeducator Amy Harich at for a volunteer form or call the school at 410-313-5568.

Speaking of Marriotts Ridge, don't forget that "Jukebox," the high school's signature fall music revue, will appear on stage Oct. 13-15. Performances begin at 7 p.m. and tickets cost $10. Email to check on ticket availability.

On October 15, Glenelg United Methodist Church will launch a new food pantry in partnership with the Howard County Food Bank. The pantry will open from 9-10 a.m. on the third Saturday of every month and anyone in need of grocery assistance may stop by without an appointment. Guests must sign in and show proof of residency in order to receive Howard County Food Bank items, but non-residents in need of assistance may also visit to receive groceries from the church inventory. Food is distributed according to family size.

This past summer, vacation Bible school participants donated more than 500 food items and $300 to help get the pantry started and the Bushy Park Elementary School Leo Club and the Glenelg United preschool have committed to providing ongoing assistance. The church welcomes donations from other groups and individuals.

Visitors can follow signs to the food pantry, which is at the back of the church at 13900 Burntwoods Road, in Glenelg. Those in need of assistance and those wishing to donate can call the church office at 410-489-7260 for more information, or email a pantry committee member at

This month, Bon Secours Spiritual Center will continue to host two of its customary, free community programs: "Keep the Spirit Up: a Day for Job Seekers and Career Changers" and Music at Marriottsville.

"Keep the Spirit Up" runs Oct. 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and provides a day of spiritual refreshment and skills workshops for those in the midst of career transition. A freewill offering will be invited.

Music at Marriottsville takes place in the Bon Secours chapel Oct. 16 at 3 p.m. when the Columbia Orchestra performs. Again, a freewill offering will be invited.

Bon Secours also offers several special programs throughout the month.

Patrick Caughy and Linda Vonderschmidt-LaStella will invite participants to explore the imagery of fire – especially as it relates to the ceramic process – in the life of St. Francis. "Through the Healing Flame…Canticles in Clay" Saturday, Oct. 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at a cost of $75. The program requires no previous experience with clay or ceramics, nor any art expertise.

The creative theme will continue as Dr. Katherine Johnson guides a look inward during "Soul Collage and the Season of Autumn" Oct. 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will design a variety of small collages using magazine images on cardstock. The program costs $60.

The program "All Is Grace: The Revolutionary Life of Dorothy Day" costs $55 and will take place Oct. 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jim Forest, the friend and biographer of Dorothy Day, will regale participants with stories about the life of this American journalist and social activist. The program costs $55.

Finally, Patricia Montley will look at how some ancient and contemporary cultures honor their dead with festivals and rituals during the "Cycle of Life Retreat." The day will run Oct. 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; the cost is $55.

To register for any of the programs at Bon Secours, call 410-442-1320, or go to The address is 1525 Marriottsville Road, in Marriottsville.

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