Governor O’Malley Proclaims April Environmental Education Month
Annapolis, Md. (April 1, 2011) — In recognition of the importance of environmental education, Governor Martin O’Malley has proclaimed April as Environmental Education Month throughout the state of Maryland.
”I urge all Maryland educators and parents to get children involved in environmental activities and events not just this month, but all spring and throughout the year,” said Governor O’Malley. “It is our State’s teachers and parents who will play a vital role in creating the next generation of environmental stewards and bringing high-quality environmental education programs to all Maryland schools.”
“Environmental Education Month spotlights our many responsibilities to the world around us, and promotes the innovative, hands-on environmental education taking place in classrooms throughout Maryland,” said Nancy S. Grasmick, State Superintendent of Schools. “Children across our State have long felt a strong connection to the environment. Our job as educators is to nurture and sustain that interest.”
Environmental Education embraces appreciation of the natural world, knowledge of science, geography, history, economics and government, understanding of the wise use of the world’s and Maryland’s natural resources, and the development of skills necessary to participate responsibly in environmental decision-making and problem-solving.
Throughout the state, students are learning about local, state, regional, national and global environmental issues, surrounding air, water and soil quality, human health, biodiversity; the Chesapeake Bay watershed; habitat protection and restoration; land use; energy; waste management; environmental health and justice; sustainable development; global warming; and ozone depletion.
“Maryland is leading the nation in requiring rigorous environmental education in schools, and a major part of that includes regularly participating in meaningful outdoor experiences,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin, who, along with Dr. Grasmick, co-chairs the Governor’s Maryland Partnership for Children In Nature. “We want to be sure that every student – and every Marylander – has access to nature and the opportunity to play and learn outdoors.”
The Governor includes in this year’s proclamation a reminder to all Maryland citizens that exploration and enjoyment of the outdoors, both as a formal learning activity and as an unstructured recreational activity, is important to developing an understanding and appreciation for our natural resources, as well as a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. During April, and throughout the year, Marylanders are urged to make time to enjoy nature as often as possible in their backyards, neighborhood, along waterways or in Maryland’s fine State parks and forests.
Last year, the Maryland State Board of Education established the Environmental Education Instructional Program for Grades Pre K–12, which infuses core subjects with lessons about conservation, smart growth and the health of our natural world, and calls for annual student outdoor experiences – all aligned with state curriculum standards. Recently, the Board voted unanimously to support an environmental literacy graduation requirement. Revised language for the requirement will be published soon for a required public comment period before the state board conducts a final vote.
Additional information on environmental education, some outdoor activities and places to enjoy them can be found at the following websites:
- Maryland Environmental Education (MSDE)
- MAEOE/Green Schools
- Maryland Department of Natural Resources – education resources
- Maryland Partnership for Children In Nature
- No Child Left Inside
- Funding for Maryland projects
- Teaching resources – Bay Backpack
- Visit a State Park or Forest
- April Calendar of Activities
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 Conservation Jobs Corps and the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights.
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 one-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 www.dnr.maryland.gov.