SDCI Celebrates National Night Out!
The weather could not have been better for National Night Out 2023 which, since 1984, has designated the first Tuesday in August as a day for communities to come together in fellowship, to get acquainted with their police and fire departments, with the local business community, and with their neighbors. Hundreds of residents emerged from their homes to enjoy the camaraderie of simply "being together" with one another in the "Central Park" area of the New Town community in Owings Mills, Maryland, parts of which back up to the Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area.
SDCI Board President Laura Van Scoyoc, Vice President Lynell Tobler, board member Josh Day, along with Josh's son, Jason, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources Wildlife & Heritage Service outreach specialist Edwin Guevara, arrived early to set up our booth for the event.
We offered lots of fun at our booth this year. There were samples of chromite ore, calsite, soapstone, magnesite, serpentine rock and other mineral samples to pick up and examine, all examples of the prehistoric geological makeup of the serpentine barrens, a winding stretch of fascinating strata that stretches from Nova Scotia to Alabama. And there were games to play! The SDCI booth offered candy to anyone who could tell us why certain plants in our display were "bad". Children could engage with our "cootie catchers", a form of origami in which folded paper is labeled with images or messages from which a player chooses, and on the inside are eight flaps, each concealing another hidden picture or secret message. It's no surprise that our images depict the wide variety of rare and endangered butterflies and plants that inhabit Soldiers Delight.
One of the most enjoyable activities we offer at our outreach events is an opportunity for children to dress up in genuine Nomex firefighting clothes, don a heavy water-filled bladder-pack and take turns shooting spray at red "Solo" cups, simulating the actions our burn teams employ when conducting a prescribed burn at Soldiers Delight.
|Harjot Maan, 9, of Owings Mills, tries his hand at "controlling" the flames in our prescribed burn activity for children|
|Arianna Crowell, 7, of Owings Mills, takes aim at the faux flames with the same water-bladder that our real fire fighters use when conducting a prescribed burn at Soldiers Delight|
|SDCI board member Josh Day talks to Owings Mills New Town residents Robert and Arlene Nusbaum about the importance of using only native plants in landscaping|
The Owings Mills New Town neighborhood common area, a vast expanse of green space with a community garden and a dog park, was filled with happy residents enjoying National Night Out's various booths offering free food from area restaurants, including Mission BBQ, Lido's Pizza and Rita's Ice. There were demonstrations by local businesses and fire and police departments, and fun displays of all kinds, including a large bounce-house. Our SDCI display saw a steady stream of neighborhood families for the full two hours of the event; it was estimated that more then 1500 people turned out this year! As dance music wafted from a nearby stage and families munched happily on local restaurant fare, it was clear that the Owings Mills New Town Community Association’s National Night Out event was a success. SDCI was certainly happy to be invited back this year.