Children in Nature

Achievements and Ongoing Actions

2009 to present: Early Achievements

The originally appointed group developed a set of recommendations in 2009 to connect children and families to nature, and began implementing actions toward its mission. Early achievements include:

  • The Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights was released and continues to be promoted.
  • The Conservation Jobs Corps was established to provide young people with green jobs skills and outdoor opportunities. The CJC has since provided employment and job training in state parks for more than 2,000 at-risk youth (through 2014 and growing), who have completed $12.5M worth of park improvement projects.
  • An annual youth summit has been held in conjunction with the Maryland Green Schools Awards, providing thousands of Maryland children with a day on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay at Sandy Point State Park, environmental learning activities, and opportunities to meet dignitaries, showcase their work, and be recognized for their achievements.

2010 and 2011: Environmental Literacy is Elevated

The Partnership for Children In Nature was instrumental in helping the State to update the preK-12 environmental literacy education program (COMAR 13A.04.017) and to pass the first Environmental Literacy Graduation Requirement (COMAR 13A.03.02.03) in the Nation. Since then, the Partnership has worked diligently to support school systems as they develop and implement their local environmental literacy programs, fostering collaboration among formal and non-formal educators, helping to increase opportunities for student outdoor experiences and teacher professional development, and more.

2012 and beyond: Structured for Action

The structure of the Partnership was strengthened to support long term implementation of the actions. A 5-year agreement was signed in 2012 by 16 partners representing State, Federal, and local governments, school systems, non-profit and National organizations. The group continues to be co-chaired by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland State Department of Education. All signatories have a high level representative serving on the Leadership Team, which meets twice annually, and staff serving on the steering committee, which meets monthly.

Several workgroups involve numerous additional partners in activities throughout the year. Many Partnership members are also actively involved in the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Mid-Atlantic Environmental Literacy Workgroup, a regional effort working to achieve the environmental literacy goal of the 2014 To learn more, see the action plans and progress reports for the Partnership’s work. Quarterly meetings are open and all interested in participating are welcomed.