Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Department Festival
|Austin Cove, 2, of Pikesville, with an eastern screech owl from the Soldiers Delight aviary behind him|
Children were encouraged to come to the outdoor event dressed in Halloween costumes and they certainly did, by the scores. SDCI president Laura Van Scoyoc, vice president Lynell Tobler and board member Mark Jennys set up a table displaying T-shirts, nature books, gift items such as Christmas ornaments, refrigerator magnets and coaster sets, a sampling of rocks and minerals found at Soldiers Delight, which was home to the world’s first chromite mine in the early 1800s, and an endless loop video depicting the wondrous ecosystem on the serpentine, located just a couple of miles from the fire station.
To one side of our table, Mark, who has taken training in the handling of raptors, assisted Patapsco Valley State Park naturalist Tabitha Aguirre with a wild animal display featuring a tiny eastern screech owl, a red-tailed hawk, an American crow and a towering black vulture from the rehabilitation aviary at Soldiers Delight. Throngs of costumed children, bundled against the chill, pressed close to see the animals.
On another side of our table, a variety of invasive plant cuttings were propped up in buckets, accompanied by a chalkboard message asking onlookers to guess what was “wrong with these plants”. Happily, a number of adults and teens answered correctly – that these specimens are a dangerous threat to native flora and especially to the delicate ecosystem at Soldiers Delight.
|Baltimore cousins Jayda Meale, 7, in fuschia gown and Kennedy Scatterfield, 6, as Antman, shoot water at faux flames in a simulated control burn activity|
|SDCI vice president Lynell Tobler took her first-ever ride in one of Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Department's big trucks. She even got to blow the horn!|
|Akeerah Jackson, 7, of Owings Mills, with help from state ecologist Wayne Tyndall, donned firefighting gear over her cowgirl costume to shoot down "flames" in the controlled burn activity|
SDCI was thrilled to have a new avenue for our ongoing efforts to educate the public about Soldiers Delight and to talk about the conservation and restoration of its rare and endangered ecosystem for future generations. That’s the core of our mission statement, and as for our stint at the Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Department fall festival, we can happily say: mission accomplished.