News from the DNR Office of Communications

Greenbrier State Park Hosts Green School Celebration For Elementary Students

students from Conococheague Elementary at GreenbrierBoonsboro, Md. - Greenbrier State Park hosted more then 300 students from Conococheague Elementary recently to celebrate their Green School Award. Greenbrier State Park partnered with the school to achieve their Green School distinction by building a unique amphitheater on school grounds for use as an outdoor classroom.

“It was very flattering when the staff at Conococheague Elementary School turned to Greenbrier State Park for help with the school’s Green School initiative,” said Dan Spedden, Park Manager of South Mountain Recreational Area at Greenbrier State Park. “The park/school partnership seemed like a perfect fit. It was interesting to see park staff working on the schools amphitheater and getting to know the students.”

During the celebration, students attended programs on camouflage and sources of water pollution, as well as a hike and a live animal demonstration led by Greenbrier staff. They were also given the opportunity to touch and learn about various animal pelts and skulls, courtesy of the DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service.

To create the amphitheater for Conococheague Elementary, Greenbrier State Park built fifteen benches eight-feet long and arranged them in three rows of five facing a rustic looking podium fashioned from a tree trunk. The amphitheater can seat up to 90 students. A thick mulch bed covers the ground in and around the amphitheater and trees and shrubs were planted around it. The school raised the money for the lumber and hardware needed to build the benches and the park provided the labor and equipment.

The Maryland Green School Program honors schools that incorporate environmental education into their curriculum, model best management practices and build community partnerships for environmental education. The application involves documenting the school's activities on these fronts over two years. The program is administered by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education. For information on your school can become a Maryland Green School, please visit

To ensure all Maryland young people have the opportunity to connect with their natural world and grow to become informed and responsible stewards, Governor Martin O’Malley established the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature in 2008. Under the initiative, which is now being used as a national model, the Governor created the Maryland Civic Justice Corps, a summer job and environmental education program that employs at risk youth in Maryland State Parks, and recently issued the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights. A plan to implement the Partnership’s Report and Recommendations – presented to Governor O’Malley in April -- is under development. During the 2009 legislative session, the O’Malley-Brown Administration secured record funding for Maryland’s #1 ranked public schools for the third consecutive year, with an investment of more than $5.5 billion.

   June 4, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 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