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April 1, 2013

April is Environmental Education Month

by Martha
Children from the Chesapeake Montessori learn how oysters protect water quality.

Students from the Chesapeake Montessori School learn how oysters protect water quality.

Governor Martin O’Malley has proclaimed April Environmental Education Month in Maryland in recognition of public and private efforts to help children connect with and learn about their natural world.

“In celebration of Environmental Education Month, we encourage all Marylanders to reserve time each day to connect with and learn about nature,” said Governor O’Malley. “Maryland is a national pioneer in environmental literacy, and our State’s educators are continually working to lead the charge – teaching, inspiring and nurturing the stewards of tomorrow.”

Through the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature, Governor O’Malley has made environmental education a priority of his administration. Maryland was the first state to adopt an environmental literacy graduation requirement, infusing core subjects with lessons about conservation, the Chesapeake Bay, Smart Growth and natural resource management. The State’s commitment to upholding these rigorous standards ensures Maryland students receive vital exposure to their natural world through the classroom, building a foundation for 21st century environmental decision making, problem solving and green jobs.

Environmental lessons integrated into a standard curriculum have a proven positive impact on student achievement in subjects such as reading, math, social studies and science; and involve knowledge and application of economics, geography, writing and more. Students statewide are applying what they have learned through lesson plans and stewardship projects, such as planting trees, cleaning streams and creating rain gardens to help create a greener, healthier Maryland.

To ensure young people statewide have the opportunity to connect with their natural world and grow to become informed and responsible stewards, Governor O’Malley established the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature in 2008. Under the initiative, which is being used as a national model, the Governor created the Maryland Conservation Jobs Corps and issued the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights. The Partnership continues to help school systems develop their environmental literacy programs, and guide easily-accessible outdoor learning and recreation in schools and communities statewide.

“Whether identifying bird species at a nearby park, investigating water quality in a local stream, or learning how trees protect our air and water, children can learn best about the importance of caring for their natural world while engaged in outdoor activities,” said Britt Slattery, Director of Conservation Education at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

A copy of the Governor’s Environmental Education Month Proclamation is located here.

Additional information on environmental education and outdoor activities is available at dnr.maryland.gov/CIN.

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