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Maryland Venturing Crew Receives National Environmental Excellence Award
DNR Ecologist, Crew Advisor Receives 2008 Outstanding Environmental Educator of the Year Award
ANNAPOLIS, MD — Venturing Crew 202 of Westminster, a co-ed group of youth dedicated to environmental restoration, protection and education, was one of eight groups nationwide to receive $10,000 as part of the Seaworld/Busch Gardens Environmental Excellence Awards program. The award, given in partnership with the National Science Teachers Association and seven national environmental organizations, recognizes the sustained environmental efforts of youth in schools and community groups.
“We are proud to recognize the far-reaching accomplishments of such an outstanding group of young people,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin. “Positive outdoor experiences such as these instill hope that every individual, regardless of age is capable of making a difference, which is essential to the future conservation of Maryland’s exceptional natural resources.”
Crew 202 specializes in providing unique opportunities for hands-on learning and leadership experiences in the field of natural resources. Along with educational initiatives, the group is also committed to materially contributing to the improvement of the Chesapeake Bay and global climate.
“The members of Crew 202 are truly a positive force for community change. Their achievements and passion for environmental issues provide a compelling example for us all,” said Department of Natural Resources Ecologist and Crew Advisor Paul Kazyak.
Accomplishments of the crew include: planting and caring for over 8,000 trees; planning and conducting an annual Boy Scout Merit Badge camp; participating in DNR monitoring projects for rare, threatened and endangered species; and constructing and staffing displays at the Maryland State Fair. The youth have also established a Crew Greening Initiative and participated in numerous environmental restoration projects. Crew 202 has worked and partnered with a large number of organizations and businesses, including ThorpeWood, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Carroll County Government, the State Highways Administration, TeamLink and Ron’s Nursery and Landscaping.
The 20-member crew plans to use the award money to construct a series of sustainability displays for the Maryland State Fair and other venues. A portion of the award will be used to further the Crew Greening Initiative and enhance materials and displays used at the annual Boy Scout Merit Badge Camp.
Advisor Paul Kazyak, DNR Resource Assessment Service Highlands Action Program Liaison for Maryland and graduate educator at Johns Hopkins University, also received recognition as the Outstanding Environmental Educator of the Year for 2008 for his efforts with the crew. This acknowledgment stems from his contributions to the development of youth leadership and personal responsibility, through engagement with the natural world. A Westminster resident, Kazyak has headed up Crew 202’s environmental efforts since the group’s inception.
“I feel quite privileged to be able to work with, and often learn from, such a talented and driven group of students,” added Kazyak.
For more information on the award, please visit http://www.seaworld.org/conservation-matters/eea/2008/nfwf.htm.
May 8, 2008
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov.