Thursday 16

COLUMBIA CHESS CLUBS, for players ages 9-17 of all experience levels, some basic knowledge is a prerequisite, sponsored by the Howard County Chess Club, 3-5 p.m. Thursdays, East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, 410-313-7700; for adults and children ages 9 and older, 7 p.m. Sept. 20 and 27, Howard County Central Library, 10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy., preregistration required, 410-313-7860. Free.

ELKRIDGE BOOK CLUB INTRODUCTION, for children ages 7-9 accompanied by an adult, an orientation meeting and discussion of the Elks Jr. Book Club, 7-8:30 p.m., Elkridge Branch Library, 6540 Washington Blvd. Free; preregistration required. 410-313-5085.

COLUMBIA WATERCOLOR CLASS, for ages 18 and older, for beginners, learn the basics of watercolor, includes demonstration of skills and concepts, 7-9 p.m. Thursdays, today-Nov. 18, Columbia Association Art Center, 6100 Foreland Garth, Columbia. $137; resident members, $130; preregistration required. 410-730-0075.

Friday 17

ELLICOTT CITY BRIDGE PROGRAM, play and improve skills, bring a partner and 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.

Saturday 18

MARYLAND COASTAL CLEANUP, help pick up trash at Terrapin Nature Park on the Chesapeake Bay, followed by lunch on the beach; bring lunch and water; sponsored by the Sierra Club, Howard County Group, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., carpool departure from Route 32 and Broken Land Parkway, west side Park and Ride lot, Columbia. Free. 301-498-8462.

COLUMBIA BABY-SITTING CLASS, for current or prospective babysitters ages 11-14, learn about first aid, emergency procedures, age-appropriate activities and other baby-sitting skills, and receive a certificate of attendance, sponsored by the Columbia Association Teen Center, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. the third Saturday of each month, the Barn, Oakland Mills Village Center, 5800 Robert Oliver Pl. $48; Columbia residents, $40; preregistration required. 410-992-3726.

LAUREL BASIC BIRDING PROGRAM, for ages 16 and older, a two-part course with a discussion and a walk to identify birds and their habitats, and more, 9-11 a.m. Saturday and 8-10 a.m. Sunday, 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.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE CLUB, for those who speak English as a second or third language, practice speaking English and more in a group setting, sponsored by the English Conversation Club, 9:30-10:30 a.m. the third Saturday of each month, Savage Branch Library, Gorman and Knights Bridge roads, Laurel. Free. 410-880-5975.

LIBRARY FARM STORY TIMES, stories about the barnyard, songs and more, children and adults, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sept. 25, Howard County Central Library, 10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia, 410-313-7880; 2 p.m. Saturday, Glenwood Branch Library, 2350 Route 97 (Roxbury Mills Road), Cooksville, 410-313-5577; for children ages 2 accompanied by an adult, 2 p.m. Sunday, Savage Branch Library, Gorman and Knights Bridge roads, Laurel, 410-880-5978; for ages 3-6, 10:30 a.m. Monday and 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Miller Branch Library, 9421 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City, 410-313-1950. Free; preregistration required.

Sunday 19

GUNPOWDER FALLS STATE PARK HIKE, a four-mile guided hike with steep and rocky terrain along the Gunpowder River, search for shrubs, wildflowers, ferns and more; bring binoculars, lunch and water; wear good walking shoes, sponsored by the Irvine Nature Center, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., meet at the trailhead on Masemore Road, off Mount Carmel Road, Hereford, Md. Free; preregistration required. 410-484-2413, Ext. 10.

Monday 20

FALL ART CLASSES AND WORKSHOPS, for all ages, visual and performing art classes and workshops, including drawing, watercolor painting, mosaics, ballet, jazz and hip-hop dance; some classes begin Monday, call for a schedule and fees, sponsored by the Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Rd., Ellicott City. 410-313-2787.

ARTHRITIS EXERCISE CLASS, ongoing, exercises and activities designed to increase mobility and function and decrease pain and stiffness, taught by Arthritis Foundation-certified instructors, sponsored by the Columbia Association Athletic Club, 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Mondays and Fridays, 5435 Beaverkill Rd., Columbia. $3; association members, free. 410-730-6744.

CLARKSVILLE JAZZ DANCE CLASSES, for beginners, sponsored by the River Hill Community Association; ages 8-12, 5:30-6:30 p.m.; ages 13 and older, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Mondays, through Oct. 25, Claret Hall, 6020 Daybreak Cir., Clarksville. $75; Columbia residents, $72; preregistration required. 410-531-1749.

COLUMBIA 4-H PROGRAM, for ages 5-9, adults welcome, a member of the Maryland Cooperative Extension will talk about the 4-H organization, 7 p.m., East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way. Free; preregistration required. 410-313-7730.

BATTERED WOMEN SUPPORT GROUP, for those troubled by a current or past abusive relationship, a confidential drop-in program, 7-8:30 p.m. Mondays; program for Hispanic women also available, focusing on furthering education and forming a supportive community, English and Spanish are spoken, 7-8:30 p.m. Mondays, Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, 8950 Route 108, Suite 116, Columbia. Free. 410-997-0304.

Tuesday 21

ARTHRITIS AQUATIC CLASS, ongoing, gentle exercises in warm water to aid in decreasing pain and stiffness, taught by Arthritis Foundation-certified instructors, sponsored by the Columbia Association Swim Center, 9:30-10:15 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10400 Cross Fox Lane, Columbia. $3; association members, free. 410-313-7000.

NEW PARENTS SUPPORT GROUP, for first-time parents, chat with other new parents, bring your baby, sponsored by the Wilde Lake Community Association, 10-11:30 a.m. Tuesdays, Slayton House, Wilde Lake Village Green, 10451 Twin Rivers Rd., Columbia. Free. 410-730-3987.

COOKSVILLE YOUTH BOOK DISCUSSION, for ages 13 and older, "Killing Mr. Griffin," by Lois Duncan, books available for borrowing, sponsored by the Teen Book Club, 3-4:30 p.m., Glenwood Branch Library, 2350 Route 97 (Roxbury Mills Road), Cooksville. Free; preregistration required. 410-313-5577.

COLUMBIA BELLY-DANCE LESSONS, sponsored by the Wilde Lake Community Association, beginners ages 14 and older, 6:15-7:15 p.m.; advanced beginners, 7:15-8:15 p.m.; intermediates, 8:15-9:15 p.m. Tuesdays, through Oct. 26, and Tuesdays, Nov. 2-Dec. 14 (no class Nov. 23), Slayton House, Wilde Lake Village Green, 10451 Twin Rivers Rd., Columbia. Six weeks, $54; drop-in, $10 per class; exact cash or check only; preregistration required. 410-730-3987.

PARENT-CHILD BOOK DISCUSSION, for children ages 9-12 accompanied by an adult, "The Birthday Room," by Kevin Henkes, 7-8 p.m., East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. Free; preregistration required. 410-313-7730.

CANNING AND PRESERVING PROGRAM, part of Howard County's Farm and City Week, Sept. 18-26, Howard County Cooperative Extension representatives will discuss and demonstrate how to preserve fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers through canning, drying and freezing, 7 p.m., East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. Free. 410-313-7700.

Wednesday 22

ELLICOTT CITY KNITTING GROUP, a drop-in program, knit and crochet afghans, blankets, baby clothes and more for local charities, hospitals and senior centers, sponsored by the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, Kiwanis-Wallas Recreation Center, 10481 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free. 410-313-7279.

ELLICOTT CITY GARDENING PROGRAM, part of Howard County's Farm and City Week, Sept. 18-26, learn how to grow and decorate pumpkins and gourds, includes a discussion on gardening practices and decorating techniques, 7 p.m., Miller Branch Library, 9421 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free; preregistration required. 410-313-1950.

CATONSVILLE MOTHERS SUPPORT, a national support group for working and stay-at-home mothers, discussion of personal needs and interests of women during their active parenting years, sponsored by Mothers and More, Southwest Baltimore Chapter, 7 p.m. the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, Immanuel United Church of Christ, 1905 Edmondson Ave., Catonsville. Admission, free. 410-455-0498.

-- Compiled by LINDA JAMES

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