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August 13, 2013

Governor O’Malley Invites Educators to Join Stream Restoration Focus Group

by lpeditor

Application deadline Monday, August 19 

Governor Martin O’Malley is asking teachers from across the State to join a focus group to help develop a hands-on, long-term stream restoration effort for Maryland students. The Governor first met with Maryland educators to explore how this next generation of stewards could help restore the Bay on July 2.

“No State has a bigger or more beautiful sustainability challenge then we have with the Chesapeake Bay,” Governor O’Malley said in his opening remarks to educators. “I need your help, and I think together we can figure this out.”

Governor O’Malley’s vision is to foster environmental literacy by having students take responsibility for the stream closest to their property, exploring and restoring their “school-shed,” so to speak. Environmental education teaching materials will be provided through the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).

Who: Governor O’Malley, State officials and teachers of math, science, environmental science, and social studies at all grade levels.

What: Schools across the State to participate in a kick off program that will begin early this fall. Participation in a focus group will expand stream study and restoration projects in Maryland schools, with students conducting investigations both in the classroom and, in particular, outdoors.

When: Applications are due by 5 p.m. August 19. To apply, email a completed application to Dr. Henry Johnson at the Maryland State Department of Education at hrjohnson@msde.state.md.us. Selected schools will be notified by late August.

Why: Engaging students in their local environment is part of a rigorous process that helps our youngest citizens become stewards of their environment, improves skills in several educational disciplines, and prepares them for 21st Century jobs.

Additional Information: MSDE and partnering environmental agencies and organizations will provide help for teachers to engage their students in stream study and action projects. Teachers will take their students outdoors three times during the school year to determine stream health, share their data using online mapping and data analysis tools, and culminate in an action project to help improve their stream over time.

Every Marylander lives within 15 minutes of a stream. Teachers and their students can begin by identifying a local stream to study and adopt at streamhealth.maryland.gov. Schools are encouraged to access streams from public property, if possible. Assistance is available to help schools connect with a stream.

As a result of this focus group, teaching resources will be made accessible to all teachers in Maryland. All components of the effort will be aligned with State education standards, requirements, and recommended practices. The activities provide means for teachers to meet requirements in environmental literacy, STEM, Common Core, and student service learning. Student activities can begin as early as September. Teacher professional development will take place regionally in October.

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