News from the DNR Office of Communications

Governor Martin O’Malley Proclaims June Great Outdoors Month

Celebration reminds Marylanders to enjoy outdoor activities.

Annapolis, MD (June 2, 2010) — In celebration of Maryland’s wealth of natural resources and exciting recreational opportunities, Governor Martin O’Malley today proclaimed the month of June “Great Outdoors Month.”

“This is a reminder to all Marylanders to take some time to share Maryland’s natural treasures with your children and families,” said Governor O’Malley.

Maryland is celebrating Great Outdoors Month for the fourth year. Great Outdoors Month is sponsored by the American Recreation Coalition. The observance is held each June -- an especially active time for recreation in America including hundreds of annual events and meetings ranging from National Trails Day to National Boating and Fishing Week, National Family Recreation Week to National Clean Beaches Week.

Saturday, June 26 is proclaimed as Great American Backyard Campout Day and children and families are encouraged to explore the natural wonders that Maryland has to offer.

“On this day, Marylanders should share nature with their children, either through the state’s affordable state parks and forests, or even in their backyards,” said Governor O’Malley.

Improving children’s knowledge about Maryland’s natural resources has spurred several initiatives through the Environmental Literacy Plan including:

• The Maryland State Board of Education voted unanimously on May 30 to move forward on implementing a graduation requirement for environmental literacy. Dr. Nancy Grasmick worked with DNR Deputy Secretary Joe Gill, Superintendent Kevin Maxwell, No Child Left Inside Director Don Baugh, and Assistant State Superintendent for Instruction Colleen Seremet on the language for this requirement. The public is invited to comment on the proposal, which will be voted on later this summer.

• On June 4, Sandy Point State Park will host more than 1,600 people to celebrate 77 new schools receiving Maryland Green School Certification from the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education. This brings the percentage of schools as certified green schools to 17% (public and private) over the past two years. All Maryland Green Schools must integrate environmental education into the curriculum.

• Concurrent with the celebration on June 4 at Sandy Point State Park is the Youth Summit – another recommendation from the Environmental Literacy Plan. Students will participate in activities to develop their leadership skills, allowing them to use these abilities to make a positive environmental change at their schools.

• The first ever Maryland Trails Summit will take place this fall. This summit is aimed at gathering government agencies and private entities to connect communities with local parks. Regional roundtables will take place this summer to inform the Trails Summit planners on topics of interest. To participate, contact MdTrailsSummit@dnr.state.md.us.

To ensure all Maryland young people have the opportunity to connect with their natural world and grow to become informed and responsible stewards, Governor O’Malley established the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature in 2008. Under this 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.


   June 2, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 467,000 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