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Thinking Small: Robinson Nature Center Hosts Nano Exhibit

The world of the very small is coming to Robinson Nature Center. The Nano mini-exhibit, on loan from Baltimore’s Port Discovery Children’s Museum, will be displayed until approximately Labor Day.

The cutting-edge subject of nanoscience and technology comes alive in this exhibit produced by Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Network). The exhibit engages family audiences in a field that is often difficult to visualize because of its extremely small nature. Development of Nano was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Port Discovery acquired the exhibition in October 2011. Last fall, the NISE Network awarded Port Discovery with a grant that allows the mini-exhibition to travel and to be on display at Robinson Nature Center. Through this exhibit, visitors explore natural objects and build large-scale models of structures relevant to nanoscience. It also includes investigations in the effects of static electricity and gravity on various objects. To augment the exhibit experience, education staff from Port Discovery will present “Small Wonder Experiences” on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, beginning on March 11, and continuing through the duration of the exhibit’s stay. Children will engage with nanoscience through hands-on demonstrations and experiments, such as creating iridescent art and experimenting with “nano pants.” The program runs at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on the designated days.

Gimbel Foundation Funds Grassroots Employment Program

The S. L. Gimbel Foundation has granted Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center $24,960 to fund its on-site employment support to help people get (and keep) good jobs.

The program includes individual and group sessions, mock interviews, résumé writing, access to work clothes and engaging employers to consider hiring people served by Grassroots. Partners include community agencies that can complement the services that Grassroots provides its residents.

Grassroots provides professional crisis counselors to staff its 24-hour hotline; see walk-in clients in need of immediate counseling; operate the Mobile Crisis Team, which responds to community emergencies; and manage the county’s emergency shelter for homeless men, women and families. For information, call 410-531-6006 or visit www.grassrootscrisis.org.

MakingChange to Host Money Matters Fair

MakingChange, a local nonprofit which develops and delivers financial education programs, will host the Money Matters Fair on Saturday, March 14, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The fair will include free activities for the entire family and will focus on such issues as college funding options, achieving a financial goal and caring for aging parents. Workshops, financial planning sessions, tax preparation and a “credit café” where participants can obtain a credit report will be featured. Pro bono financial planners will be available for consultation. More than 30 exhibitors will provide information about local financial resources.

Activities for children ages 12–18 and their parents will include the popular Y-Fi (Youth Finance) interactive financial simulation designed to show how career, education and spending choices impact success.

The Money Matters Fair will be held at Long Reach High School, 6101 Old Dobbin Road, Columbia. A scavenger hunt, entertainment by the Tree House School of Music, gift card drawings and free child care will be provided. Registration is requested but not required at MoneyMattersFair.Visit EventBrite.com; for more information, visit www.makingchangecenter.org.

Cardin, Others Introduce Permanent Authorization for Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network

U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin, Barbara Mikulski, Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Tom Carper and Chris Coons have introduced legislation to permanently authorize the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network run by the National Park Service.

The Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network Continuing Authorization Act would continue the program that helps visitors connect with and appreciate the Chesapeake Bay. Responsible for boosting local economies through tourism, the collection of parks, wildlife refuges, museums, sailing ships, historic communities and trails over land and water has become an inextricable part of the landscape.

“Ten million people visit Chesapeake Gateways Network sites each year, and competition is consistently strong for the oversubscribed grants awarded by the program. That represents an unmistakably clear mandate for the program’s continuation long into the future,” said Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “The Chesapeake is the economic, historical and cultural heart of our region, and the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network is instrumental to helping residents and visitors alike develop lasting appreciations for the bay’s role in all of our lives.”

“The Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network has created 36 new public access points to the bay in just the last three years,” said Mikulski, vice chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee. “That’s 36 new access points to our heritage, to our pride, to our livelihood. … The bay is Maryland’s greatest national treasure, and I’ll continue to fight to preserve it and its history, as I have for many years.”

The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network program was most recently reauthorized through 2013 in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012; the Chesapeake Gateways and Watertrails program set up a network of Chesapeake Bay-related sites, such as parks, wildlife refuges and trails. The Network has grown to 172 sites and water trails in all six states in the Chesapeake Watershed.

Monarch Global Academy Receives $3,500 Crayola Grant

Monarch Global Academy, a public contract school in Laurel, received a Crayola Creativity Alive Grant to help expand children’s knowledge through arts integration. The $3,500 grant included a $2,500 check and $1,000 in Crayola art supplies.

Monarch Global Academy, an International Baccalaureate school, will use grant money to fund professional development for teachers to increase their knowledge of ways to integrate music, drama, visual arts, media and kinesiology into the classroom. Crayola awarded Creativity Alive Grants to 20 schools in the nation that demonstrated interesting creative programs to integrate the arts into the classroom.

Kittleman Supports Right to Petition to Referendum

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman strongly supported legislation that would protect Maryland citizens’ rights to petition to referendum questions that they wish to bring to a popular vote.

In support of House Bill 284, Kittleman testified before the House Ways & Means Committee in Annapolis. He called for advanced determination of sufficiency of local petition drives before advocates begin collecting signatures needed to place a question on an election ballot.

The question arises from an effort in Howard County in 2013 to bring a rezoning dispute to referendum. The local election board declined to rule in advance as to whether or not the language of the petition was “sufficient” to go forward. After many valid signatures were collected (more than enough to earn a place on the ballot), the election board changed its ruling and declared the petition invalid because its summary of the question was not sufficient.

“This is a violation of an important constitutional right,” Kittleman said. “Our citizens deserve to have the ability to bring issues to referendum, and if they’re willing to work that hard and they can get enough signatures, they should have a right to get on the ballot.”

Kittleman testified before the House of Delegates committee and on an almost identical bill (Senate Bill 193) before the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. “We need to ensure that the right to referendum is truly available to our citizens,” he said.

Columbia Figure Skating Club Announces Spring Production

The Columbia Figure Skating Club has announced its annual spring production, “Movies and Minions,” featuring multiple performances at the Columbia Ice Rink, located at 5876 Thunder Hill Road. Tickets are on sale for the performances during the weekend of March 21–22. Show times on Saturday, March 21, are 3 and 6 p.m.; Sunday, March 22, 2 and 4:30 p.m.

Skaters will enact scenes from movies, such as “Annie,” “Mary Poppins,” “Frozen” and, of course, “Despicable Me.” Beloved characters, such as Little Orphan Annie, Mary Poppins and the Banks children, Anna and Elsa, and the Minions will come to life on ice.

The show features almost 70 performers, including many advanced-level skaters who have competed in regional- and national-level competitions. For more information, contact Andrea Wills at 410-215-1141 or visit www.columbiafsc.com.

New Civic Association Addresses Southern Howard Issues

The inaugural meeting of the Southern Howard County Civic Association will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7, at the North Laurel Community Center. The non-political organization is focused on community issues in southern Howard County and has filed for nonprofit status.

Officers for the Association include Bibi Perrotte-Foston, president; Gregory Jennings, treasurer; and Muriel Michelle Midon, secretary.

Voting membership is extended to residents within the boundaries of Route 32 in the north, Ten Oaks Road/Brighton Dam Road to the west, the Prince George’s and Montgomery County lines to the south and the Anne Arundel County line in the east. The Civic Association also accepts non-voting, paid memberships outside of these boundaries, as well as honorary memberships.

“We plan to hold an annual picnic in September and will announce the date as soon possible,” Perrotte-Foston said, adding that County Executive Allan Kittleman will be invited to speak at a future meeting. Meetings will be held on the first Tuesday of each month.

Author Moore to Address LHC’s Big Event

Leadership Howard County (LHC) will hold its annual Big Event, featuring guest speaker Wes Moore, who will present “From Adversity to Success: Transformational Lessons in Leadership.” The event will take place on Tuesday, April 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Turf Valley, Ellicott City.

Moore is a youth advocate, Army combat veteran, national best-selling author and social entrepreneur based in Baltimore. The Big Event is open to the public and brings together more than 400 leaders from business, government and nonprofits in Howard County.

Moore’s first book, The Other Wes Moore, became an instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. Out of a realization — detailed in his book — that his success is attributable to those who mentored and guided him through a difficult youth, Moore has dedicated his career to helping young people succeed through education and awareness of the importance of service.

Tickets for the Big Event cost $100, the nonprofit price is $70 and the student rates $50; early bird purchase (by March 31) of a table of 10 costs $900. To register or learn more, visit www.leadershiphc.org or call 410-730-4474.

Howard County Conservancy Will Hold Summer Nature Camps

This summer, the Howard County Conservancy will offer eight weeks of full-day nature camps, in one-week sessions, at its Mt. Pleasant location in Woodstock; and five weeks at its Belmont location in Elkridge.

The conservancy nature camps encourage children to learn about Howard County’s ecology and natural history through hikes, experiments, stories and hands-on exploration of its nature centers and parkland. Camps will include outdoor skills and all-camp activities, as well.

The nature camps run from 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m., with before- and after-care options available. Campers must be between the ages of 5–12.

Program aide positions are available for students who are 13 years old. Students ages 14 and older are encouraged to apply for a junior counselor position.

To see the session information and to register, visit: Belmont, www.hcconservancy.org/belmont-camps.html; Mt. Pleasant, www.hcconservancy.org/mt.pleasant-camps.html.

HCAC Offers Creative Opportunities for Summer Campers

Registration has begun for visual and performing arts summer programs at the Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) in Ellicott City. Programs are open to the public, regardless of residency in Howard County, for students entering grades K–7. Campers must be at least 5 years of age by Sept. 1, 2015, to be eligible for summer camp.

Campers are grouped by age and may enroll for a full day or half-day. Before-care beginning at 8 a.m. and after-care until 6 p.m. also are available.

Students may select from age-appropriate visual and performing arts camps, including Bucket Band, Art FUNdamentals, Recycled Re-Ware and others. Camps conclude with an exhibit or performance of student work on the last day of each camp session. HCAC employs experienced teachers, each of whom is supported by one to three camp assistants and volunteers. Classes are limited to 20 campers.

Summer camps begin June 22 and run in one-week sessions through Aug. 14. Registration is available online at www.hocoarts.org or by phone at 410-313-2787.

Two New Exhibits Unveiled at HCAC

March is Youth Art Month, and the Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) is commemorating the occasion with its annual spring exhibit of student artwork in Gallery I at the Howard County Center for the Arts.

Presented through an ongoing partnership between Howard County Public School System and the HCAC, this year’s Youth Art Month exhibit is titled “Personal Geographies Map as Art,” and features hundreds of works by HCPSS students in grades K–12; in Gallery II, in partnership with Howard County Recreation and Parks’ Department of Therapeutic Recreation and Inclusion Services, the exhibit “No Boundaries” showcases work by youth and adult artists with developmental disabilities.

Both exhibits will be open from March 13 to April 24. A free public reception, including beverages, snacks and HCAC’s Summer Arts Camp Preview, will be held on Thursday, March 19, from 5–7 p.m.

HCAC Gallery I and II hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m.–4 p.m., and Sunday from 12–4 p.m. To learn more, call 410-313-2787.