Holiday Open House At Soldiers Delight
|From left, Kristin Taylor, her daughter, Hattie, 3, Jacob and Daniel Hugg, both 5, and their mother, Beth, decorate "edible bird houses" with peanut butter and colorful seeds.|
SDCI vice president Lynell Tobler and some helpers spent most of the previous day preparing the visitor center for its big event – setting up dozens of long tables throughout the auditorium, lobby and exhibit hall, then decorating those tables with holiday cheer and organizing a program that would give visitors an opportunity to make more than a dozen different nature-themed ornaments and engage in other seasonal activities.
At noon on the day of our event, visitors streamed in, greeted by the smells of steaming cocoa and freshly baked baklava, among other delicacies. Out in the parking lot, Westminster Astronomy Society event coordinator Brenda DeLuna, who leads monthly star-gazing programs at Soldiers Delight, searched for the sun behind a mildly overcast sky and offered children a chance to create their very own impact crater, the hole that results when one heavenly body strikes another, in a tub filled with flour and cocoa powder.
|Kristen Bergstrom and her son, Camden, 5, of Owings Mills, use a glue gun as Michelle Jaecksch and her daughter, Meaghan, 8, of Ellicott City, prepare to glue their own crafts|
|SDCI Board member Joe Kelly tends the beverage bar at our Holiday Open House|
The Patapsco Valley State Park aviary adjacent to the visitor center, which itself was open for tours on this special day, houses a variety of injured owls, hawks and vultures. Soldiers Delight ranger Jamie Petrucci and naturalist Tabitha Aguirre warmly greeted visitors to the aviary and led them past the animal enclosures so they could enjoy up-close encounters with some of nature’s most magnificent raptors.
About fifty yards behind the visitor center, Volunteer Ranger and fellow board member Mark Jennys tended a crackling fire inside Red Dog Lodge, where he invited families to toast marshmallows over glowing embers. For $5, visitors to the 1920s-era hunting cabin could have their portraits taken in front of the old stone fireplace.
|Home baked treats like "Red Dog Lodge chocolate logs", apple-pear cake, baklava and peanut butter pie were among the festive offerings at our bake sale|
Throughout the afternoon, visitors filtered through our open house, enlivening the building with a bustle of festivity and good cheer. When all was said and done, this year’s Holiday Open House, a principal fundraising affair, was quite successful. To those of you who attended our celebration, purchased a bakery item or made a craft or two to take home, the board of Soldiers Delight Conservation, Inc. offers a hearty THANK YOU!! We can’t do what we do to conserve and restore the fragile ecosystem that is Soldiers Delight NEA without your help and support, and we appreciate your assistance and encouragement very, very much.