DNR Employee Named Outdoor Educator Of The Year By MAEOE

Annapolis, MD (February 23, 2010) - Bart Merrick, an Education Coordinator with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), has received the Robert A. Finton Outdoor Educator of the Year Award. Merrick received the award from the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education Association (MAEOE), during their Winter Conference February 19-21 at Rocky Gap State Park

“I congratulate Bart on this outstanding achievement in environmental education and thank him for his support of our vision for Children in Nature,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Educators like him are the driving force behind our efforts to help all Maryland young people learn about their environment and connect with their natural world, so they may grow to be healthy, responsible adult stewards.”

The award, named in honor of the late Bob Finton, MAEOE Board Member and DNR Employee, is given each year to a non-formal practitioner of outdoor education. The nominee can be a paid or unpaid representative of an outdoor education center, non-profit organization, service organization, resource agency, education-related business, or other organization with an environmental education mission.

As Education Coordinator for the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Bart promotes conservation practices and increases environmental awareness among Maryland students and teachers on a daily basis.

“I am very honored to have received the Finton Award,” Merrick said. “MAEOE is an organization with so many inspiring educators, and I am reminded that receiving this award is possible only because I have worked with and learned from so many other great environmental educators. I have chosen Environmental Education as a career because of these people and the importance it has in connecting people to their natural environment, helping them think about how their actions impact the things around them.”

Some of Bart’s accomplishments include: Development of national estuaries curricula (Estuaries 101 and Chesapeake Bay 102) in which students use real data to find solutions to real problems, in partnership with NOAA; development of high school teacher trainings to provide meaningful Chesapeake Bay field learning experiences; and initiation of a 5-day residential "Patuxent Youth Sojourn" educational paddling trip for high school students.

“It is impossible to measure the value of education as it relates to preserving our natural world,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “Collectively, the work that Bart does for the Reserve System develops and supports a stewardship ethic among hundreds of Maryland citizens every year.”

   February 23, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office | 410-507-7526 cell

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