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Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is asking teachers from across the state to join a focus group to help develop a hands-on, long-term stream restoration effort for Maryland students.
The governor first met with Maryland educators to explore how this next generation of stewards could help restore the Chesapeake Bay on July 2, according to a press release from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
“No State has a bigger or more beautiful sustainability challenge [than] we have with the Chesapeake Bay,” O’Malley said in his opening remarks to educators, as quoted in the release. “I need your help, and I think together we can figure this out.”
O’Malley’s vision is to foster environmental literacy by having students take responsibility for the stream closest to their property, exploring and restoring what the press release coins their “school-shed.” Environmental education teaching materials will be provided through the Maryland State Department of Education.
Teachers of math, science, environmental science and social studies at all grade levels are invited, the release states. The program will begin early this fall. Participation in the focus group will expand stream study and restoration projects in Maryland schools, with students conducting investigations both in the classroom and, in particular, outdoors.
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, the release states.
Every Marylander lives within 15 minutes of a stream, according to the release. 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, the release states. All components of the effort will be aligned with state education standards, requirements and recommended practices. The activities provide a means for teachers to meet requirements in environmental literacy, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), Common Core and student service learning.
Student activities can begin as early as September, according to the release. Teacher professional development will take place regionally in October.
Applications are due by 5 p.m. Aug. 19. To apply, email a completed application to Henry Johnson at the Maryland State Department of Education at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications can be found at www.dnr.state.md.us/cin/. Selected schools will be notified by late August.