Service Learning Resources for Students

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recognizes the importance of students learning through service activities within their community. That is why we offer several opportunities for students to earn their service learning credit while working to improve their environment.

For detailed information about service learning and the graduation requirement, please visit the Maryland Student Service Association at:

What is service learning?

Service learning is a mandatory requirement for students in the state of Maryland. Service learning credit through Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers students the opportunity to perform a valuable service within their community while learning about the science behind their service.

Service Learning Opportunities at Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Fish Passage

Since 1990, the Maryland Fish Passage Program has constructed fishways throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. These ladders were built to reopen historical spawning habitat to six target species that migrate in Maryland waters: white perch, yellow perch, American Shad, hickory shad, alewife and blueback herring.

Stocks of American Shad began to decline in the early 1900's, while stocks of river herring and hickory shad have been on the wane since the 1930's. Loss of spawning habitat, both in quantity and quality, as well as over harvesting probably contributed to the decline in the abundance of these species. Providing passage at stream blockages can provide access to miles of valuable spawning habitat, once available to these important commercial and recreational fish species.

Service learning projects can include cleaning debris from the exit of the fish ladder, cleaning surrounding areas, taking air and water temperature and observing the presence of fish. Students can earn approximately 12-30 hours, mostly March-June. For more information on the Maryland Fish Passage Program, click here, or contact Jim Thompson, Jim is the lead fisheries biologist for DNR's Fish Passage Program and he can be contacted through customer service email.

TREE-Mendous Maryland

The few hours we spend improving our community forests can make our neighborhoods better places to live not only for ourselves, but for generations to come. Your school, club or organization, can work with your local Department of Natural Resources Forester planting native trees on public land in your community. For more information, visit:

Stream ReLeaf Activities

Contact: Anne Hairston-Strang
Phone: 410-260-8509
Description: Student Service Learning and classroom activities for middle school students and teachers exploring riparian forest buffers in communities and along the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Written for MSPAP outcomes.

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  • Cindy Etgen
    Aquatic Resources Education Section Chief - Chesapeake and Coastal Service
    MD Department of Natural Resources
    580 Taylor Ave., E-2
    Annapolis, MD 21401