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Add to America’s record of natural history; win a Smithsonian spot

Your photographs could hang in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, home to the world’s largest diamond, a triceratops and mummies.     Fifty inspired images will join that rare collection through the Wilderness Forever 50 photography competition, which celebrates Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing the Wilderness Act 50 years ago.

Out of anguish, a seed grows to produce beauty

In times of trial, the brave step forward.     Unrest caught hold at Calvert High School a year ago. It divided students into Us and Them.     Into this turmoil stepped a handful of the brave.     At a June assembly to bring the students together, senior E.J. LaGoy spoke up. “Words hurt,” she said. “Stop it! Just stop it!”

Don Chomas’ pink pig advances Parole Rotary’s Naptown barBAYq

The Parole Rotary’s Naptown barBAYq is coming to town with more than 50 teams competing to win bragging rights to best pork, chicken, ribs and brisket.     Next weekend you’ll smell the smoke far and wide. Barbecuing begins late May 3 with the festival running May 4 and 5 at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds. You’ll get your chance to taste from 2:30-5pm Saturday ($10).

Department of the Environment jumps on

Composting is all the rage in the trash world. The newest trash trendsetter, Maryland’s Department of the Environment, now invites its 900 employees to compost food waste instead of sending it to the landfill.     Food scraps take up 20 to 30 percent of precious landfill space. Composting diverts scraps from landfills to compost piles, where it ferments and transforms into nutrient-rich humus that feeds earth, plants and us.

New lane markings, rumble strips and signs help us get across

I’m claustrophobic and scared of heights, so unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations send my anxiety into a full-blown panic attack. Also, I’m easily distracted. Driving over a bridge, with traffic coming toward me, isn’t my idea of fun, even if I am heading to Ocean City for a getaway.     So I was happy to hear of this week’s Bay Bridge safety enhancements.

Blue-hued bulbs help raise awareness

One in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.     This month — Autism Awareness Month — the Autism Speaks organization is recruiting residences, businesses and buildings to change their exterior light bulbs from white to blue to raise awareness.     Drum Point Lighthouse at Calvert Marine Museum is leading the way in the Light It Up Blue campaign.

Wagging, walking, running and smooching for a good cause

They came out in packs.         Some walked or ran on two legs, some on four, to raise $180,000 at the Anne Arundel SPCA’s most successful Walk for the Animals April 7 at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis.     Two walking trails — one mile and two-and-a-half-miles — plus the new Tails & Trails 5K drew 184 humans and more than 50 dogs.

State Highway Administration is fast behind

Don’t let looks deceive you.

Toys help patients having a rough day at Children’s Hospital

It’s a big job making sure Dr. Bear’s closet at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., is never bare.       For the children, it’s a closet as crucial as the closets that hold bandages and medicine.     Dr. Bear’s Closet stocks toys and games for children with a special request or who have a special day, like a birthday, coming up.

It’s time for your close-up, Mother Nature

Capture family memories with the Bay as a backdrop, on top of one of Maryland’s mountains or in a leaf-filled meadow for Maryland League of Conservation Voters’ family photo contest.     The League wants photos of families having fun in Maryland’s great outdoors to enrich League publications and website while inspiring Marylanders to fight to protect our state’s natural beauty.