The purpose of Maryland’s Environmental Education program is to enable students to make decisions and take actions that create and maintain an optimal relationship between themselves and the environment, and to preserve and protect the unique natural resources of Maryland, particularly those of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.
In April 2008, the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature by was established. The Partnership was composed of a 21-member board.
Co-chaired by Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary John Girffin and State School Superintendent Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, the Partnership was charged with developing and implementing an environmental literacy plan as well as a plan to provide youth with structured and unstructured opportunities for play, outdoor recreation, learning and scientific study.
In 2009, the Partnership released its first report and recommendations to the Governor. This report established the “Children in Nature Plan” for the state of Maryland.
The plan had two parts, the first focused on developing more opportunities for outdoor recreation and education.
This included the expansion of Schoolyard Habitat Programs, the creation of trail systems, green initiatives to form nature play areas, and the establishment of a statewide Civic Justice Corps.
The second part of the plan, the State Environmental Literacy Plan, reviewed and assessed the state of environmental education in Maryland. It identified the necessary elements to develop environmentally literate students. This eventually lead to the Maryland State Board of Education to adopt the Environmental Literacy Standards and to make them a graduation requirement in June of 2011.
The students that entered high school in that following school year 2011-2012, were required to meet this new requirement. These students will be graduating in June 2015 as the first students to meet the environmental literacy requirement.
Environmental Literacy Timeline