Thursday, May 8, 2008


Homegrown Habitat

In a new greenhouse in a former maintenance yard, volunteers at Black Hill Regional Park are cultivating flora native to Maryland -- and, if all goes well, new turf for the state's official insect.

The next stop for the plants is county schools, where students will be encouraged to plant and cultivate butterfly gardens in the hope of attracting the Baltimore checkerspot butterfly, said Steve Radov, nature program manager at the 1,843-acre park in Boyds.

In the fall, volunteers scoured county forests with park naturalist Denise Gibbs to collect plant seeds from 17 species and learn how to propagate them. The species were selected to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and other insects and wildlife, said Peg Dorgan of Germantown, a member of the Friends of Black Hill Nature Programs, which pursued grants to buy the greenhouse after park naturalists expressed an interest.

A grant from the Montgomery County Parks Society and private donations secured enough money for the 12-by-20-foot greenhouse, Radov said. The Friends of Black Hill have grown more than 4,000 plants since the greenhouse was installed last summer. Because the group has so many plants, it is hosting a native plant and wildflower sale from 5 to 7 p.m. May 16 and 9 a.m. to noon May 17 at the park, 20926 Lake Ridge Dr. Proceeds will benefit park naturalist programs. For information, call 301-916-0220.

-- MELISSA A. CHADWICK Gazette staff writer


High Hopes for Preschool

Downtown Sandy Spring is getting a Goddard School, and residents are hoping it will help revitalize the heart of the community.

Plans are to build the preschool on the Montgomery Mutual Insurance site along Olney Sandy Spring Road (U.S. Route 108), between Norwood and Meeting House roads. It will have space for nearly 200 children.

The school, a part of a franchise established in 1998 that serves children from 6 weeks to 6 years old, will be on the first floor of a new office building.

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