Every Marylander lives within 15 minutes of a stream, however many of these critical habitats have been negatively impacted by humans. This year, Governor Martin O’Malley is looking to partner with educators to rapidly expand the number of students engaged in hands-on learning and restoration of these aquatic resources. The effort will help students connect their own critical, local actions to the restoration of our nation’s largest estuary – the Chesapeake Bay!
The Governor first met with Maryland educators to explore how this next generation of stewards could help restore the Bay on July 2. “No State has a bigger or more beautiful sustainability challenge then we have with the Chesapeake Bay,” Governor O’Malley said in his opening remarks to educators. “I need your help, and I think together we can figure this out.”
Governor O’Malley’s vision is to foster environmental literacy by having students take responsibility for the stream closest to their property, exploring and restoring their “school-shed,” so to speak. To this end:
Teachers of math, science, environmental science, and social studies at all grade levels are being invited to apply to join a “focus group” of educators to help develop a hands-on, long-term stream restoration effort for Maryland students.
For the 2013-2014 school year, up to 125 schools throughout the State will be selected to join the “focus group” of educators. Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and partnering environmental agencies and organizations will provide professional development in October to best prepare teachers from these schools to engage their students in conducting investigations both in the classroom and, in particular, outdoors.
Through the program, teachers will take their students outdoors three times during the school year to determine stream health, share their data using online mapping and data analysis tools, and culminate in an action project to help improve their stream over time. Teachers and their students can begin by identifying a local stream to study and adopt at streamhealth.maryland.gov. Schools are encouraged to access streams from public property, if possible. Assistance is available to help schools connect with a stream.
As a result of this focus group, teaching resources will be made accessible to all teachers in Maryland. All components of the effort will be aligned with State education standards, requirements, and recommended practices. The activities will provide means for teachers to meet requirements in environmental literacy, STEM, Common Core, and student service learning.
Applications to participate in the focus group are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, August 19th.
Additional information on this opportunity is provided via the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website.]]>