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July 18, 2013

State Awards More Grants through Governor’s Stream Restoration Challenge

by Martha
Students in Carroll County assessing the health of a local stream

Students in Carroll County assessing the health of a local stream

Governor Martin O’Malley today announced the second round of Stream Restoration Challenge grant recipients to receive funding for school and community projects to improve Chesapeake Bay water quality. Selected by the State, these 16 proposals will use service learning and environmental education activities to engage and educate nearly 15,000 students in every phase of the restoration process.

“The Stream Restoration Challenge is an opportunity for our children to learn outside of the classroom and connect with the natural world around them,” said Governor O’Malley. “These projects help restore water quality in and around the Bay, clean our air, beautify our communities and create habitat for wildlife, all while educating and cultivating Maryland’s next generation of stewards.”

The proposals were chosen based on how effective, efficient and economical they would be, and which would support the most student participation. The majority of the projects will establish critical streamside forests to filter polluted runoff before it enters Maryland’s streams, rivers and Chesapeake Bay. The grant recipients have been notified and have expressed their excitement and enthusiasm in getting the projects underway. Click here to view the awardees.

“The proposed grant will allow the nearly 6,600 students of the Broadneck High School feeder system, nestled on a peninsula between the Magothy River and Severn River, to be engaged in the planning, design and implementation of major stream restoration projects. It is my belief as a professional educator that there is no better way to instill in our students the value of protecting our watersheds,” said David Smith, PhD, principal of Broadneck High School and grant recipient through Anne Arundel County Schools.

“Our need for substantive and rigorous environmental education for our students is high, as is our urban watershed’s need for remediation and restoration. The tree canopy coverage on school grounds lags behind that of Baltimore City as a whole,” said Michael Sarbanes, Executive Director of the Office of Engagement for Baltimore City Schools.  “This [grant] addresses both of these educational and restoration imperatives.”

Planting led by Parks & People and Blue Water Baltimore with high school students from Maritime Industries Academy

Planting led by Parks & People and Blue Water Baltimore with high school students from Maritime Industries Academy

Governor O’Malley launched the Stream Restoration Challenge last summer to establish 1,000 acres of forested stream buffers in Maryland by 2015. The initiative will ultimately provide up to $6 million in grants to help local governments, school systems and non-governmental organizations carry out the projects.

So far through the Challenge, more than 2,300 students from across Maryland have helped plant nearly 42,000 trees to improve water quality on 110 acres ─ equating to more than 5,500 service learning hours.

The Challenge supports the Governor’s Smart, Green and Growing initiative, which engages every Marylander in the State’s efforts to create a more sustainable future. Funding for these grants is made available through the Chesapeake & Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund. Click here to see the first round of recipients.

DNR encourages schools or groups looking to see how they can get involved to contact Gabe Cohee, program coordinator, at 410-260-8753 or gcohee@dnr.state.md.us.

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