Thursday 27

COOKSVILLE CHESS CLUB, for players ages 9-17 of all abilities, with some knowledge of moving the chess pieces, 5 p.m., Glenwood Branch Library, 2350 Route 97 (Roxbury Mills Road), Cooksville. Free. 410-313-5577.

Friday 28

ELLICOTT CITY DUPLICATE BRIDGE GAMES, play and improve skills, bring a bag lunch, coffee and tea available, sponsored by the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Fridays, Kiwanis-Wallas Recreation Center, 10481 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free. 410-313-7279.

STEVENSON CAMPFIRE PROGRAM, a professional storyteller tells stories and tales about indigenous people and their care for the earth; plus audience participation and s'mores; bring a blanket or chairs, 7:30-9 p.m., Irvine Nature Center, 8400 Greenspring Ave., Stevenson. $12; four or more, $40; center members, $9; four or more center members, $30; preregistration required. 410-484-2413, Ext. 10.

Saturday 29

GUNPOWDER FALLS STATE PARK HIKE, a seven- to eight-mile hike on the South Trail to Prettyboy Dam, Hereford, Md.; optional afternoon picnic, volleyball and swim in the river, sponsored by the Sierra Club, Howard County Group, carpool departure, 8:30 a.m., from Route 32 and Broken Land Parkway, west side Park and Ride lot, Columbia Free. 410-721-2642.

LAUREL NATURE PROGRAMS, for ages 16 and older, "Basics of Birding," a discussion and walk to learn about identification, habitats and equipment for birding, two parts, 9-11:30 a.m. Saturday and 8:15-10:30 a.m. Sunday; for ages 5-7, "Bugs in the Bog," search for bugs in a wetlands area, dress to get wet and muddy, 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Patuxent Research Refuge, National Wildlife Visitor Center, off Powder Mill Road, between Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 197, Laurel. Free; preregistration required. 301-497-5887.

STEVENSON GARDEN TALK, for adults and ages 14 and older, "Water in the Garden," learn how to water a garden during a drought and conserve water, participants will have an option of building a rain barrel to take home, 10 a.m.-noon, Irvine Nature Center, 8400 Greenspring Ave., Stevenson. $8; members, $5; rain barrel, $30. 410-484-2413, Ext. 10.

YOUTH SOCIAL SKILLS PROGRAM, for ages 9-14, "Social Expressions," an interactive class on social skills, etiquette, personal development, leadership qualities, communication skills, telephone and e-mail etiquette and more; bring a bag lunch, sponsored by the Columbia Association Teen Center, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., the Barn, Oakland Mills Village Center, 5800 Robert Oliver Pl., Columbia. $48; Columbia residents, $40; preregistration required. 410-992-3726.

MARRIOTTSVILLE STAR-GAZING PARTY, for all ages, telescope viewing of planets, galaxies and nebulae, the moon and satellites, weather permitting, sponsored by the Howard Astronomical League, 8-11 p.m. Saturday, June 26, July 24, Aug. 21, Sept. 25 and Oct. 16, Alpha Ridge Community Park, Route 99, west of Marriottsville Road, Marriottsville. Free. 410-531-3899 or www.howardastro.org.

Tuesday 1

BREAST-FEEDING SUPPORT GROUP, for pregnant women, infants and toddlers welcome, discussion of "The Difficulties of Not Breast-Feeding," group will also answer questions on breast-feeding, sponsored by the La Leche League of Columbia, 10 a.m., Grace Community Church, 9180 Rumsey Rd., Columbia. Free. 443-857-3738.

RETIRED OFFICERS' WIVES CLUB LUNCH, for wives of active or retired military personnel of all branches, their families and guests, Christa Pence of Rave Reviews in Columbia will discuss fashion tips and wardrobe enhancements, also includes displays of clothing and accessories, 11 a.m., Club Meade, 6600 Mapes Rd., Fort George Meade. $10; preregistration required. 410-674-8289.

BALTIMORE SMOKING CESSATION CLASS, including acupressure, shiatsu (a technique of finger pressure), enhanced breathing, and other techniques; those diagnosed with heart and lung diseases and cancer are invited, sponsored by Franklin Square Hospital Center, 6-9 p.m. Tuesdays, through June 15, 9000 Franklin Square Dr., Baltimore. $75; preregistration required. 443-777-7900.

Wednesday 2

LAUREL BIRD WALK, for ages 16 and older, a guided hike in search of birds in refuge habitats, field guides and binoculars recommended, 8:15-10:30 a.m., Patuxent Research Refuge, National Wildlife Visitor Center, off Powder Mill Road, between Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 197, Laurel. Free; preregistration required. 301-497-5887.

BRIDGE AND PINOCHLE GAMES, a drop-in program, play bridge and pinochle or bring a favorite table game; bring a bag lunch, coffee and tea available, sponsored by the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays; 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Fridays, Kiwanis-Wallas Recreation Center, 10481 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free. 410-313-7279.

LIONS CLUB ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING, for members and people interested in joining the organization, discussion of group activities and fundraising events, sponsored by the Columbia Lions Club, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday; other meetings the first and third Wednesdays of each month, Tiber River Tavern, 3733 Old Columbia Pike, Ellicott City. Free; annual membership dues, $80. 410-964-8685.

ELLICOTT CITY GARDEN TALK, master gardeners will discuss ticks and lyme disease, and the emergence of the cicada in Maryland and it's effect on the environment, 7 p.m., Miller Branch Library, 9421 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free. 410-313-1950.

CHORUS MEMBER SEARCH, for adult female singers of all voice parts interested in performing in a barbershop-style chorus, sponsored by the Harbor City Music Company, a chorus of Sweet Adelines International, which will compete in the October 2004 International Contest, rehearsals, 7:15 p.m. Wednesdays, Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts, 194 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park. Free; preregistration required. 800-856-9868 or www.harborcitymusiccompany.org.

Thursday 3

COLUMBIA WELLNESS PROGRAM, a discussion on sleeplessness, symptoms and treatment options, sponsored by Howard County General Hospital, 7-8:30 p.m., Wellness Center, Columbia Medical Center, Suite L-9, 11055 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Free; preregistration required. 410-740-7601.

-- Compiled by LINDA JAMES

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