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First Lady Katie O’Malley Celebrates Great American Backyard Campout

Encourages outdoor recreation throughout the summer

ANNAPOLIS, MD (June 15, 2011) – First Lady Katie O’Malley kicked-off the Great American Backyard Campout with help from the National Wildlife Federation and Maryland Park Service by pitching a tent with a group of local kids on the Government House lawn. “Camp under the stars” is one of 10 outdoor activities that make up the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, introduced by Governor Martin O’Malley in 2009.

“The campout is a great way for people of all ages to develop a connection to the outdoor world,” said First Lady O’Malley. “By encouraging children to spend time outdoors, whether at a State Park or in their own backyards, we are teaching them to respect nature and helping to create the next generation of stewards.”

The National Wildlife Federation’s 7th annual Great American Backyard Campout takes place June 25 and encourages families and children nationwide to camp out.

“One of the greatest threats to wildlife is a generation of children entirely disconnected from nature,” said Tony Caligiuri, mid-Atlantic regional executive director for the National Wildlife Federation. “The Great American Backyard Campout provides a simple, inexpensive way for families to have fun, while rediscovering the great outdoors.”

“June is ‘Great Outdoors Month,’ kicking off a summer full of exceptional opportunities to enjoy our natural world with friends and families,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “Whether enjoying a weekend camping trip, spending a day at one of our beautiful State Parks or fishing on a pier, our State’s outdoor recreational opportunities are second to none.”

The Maryland Park Service will host special events June 25 and 26 at nine State Parks, including campfires, outdoor cooking classes, animal programs, guided canoeing and hiking, and beachcombing. Participating parks are Deep Creek Lake, New Germany, Dan’s Mountain, Cunningham Falls, Patapsco Valley, Elk Neck, Sandy Point, Point Lookout and Pocomoke River State Parks. Details on each event are available here.

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, an ambitious set of actions focus on improving connections with nature during the school day as well as outside of school and in communities.

   June 15, 2011

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

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly a half-million 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 11 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