The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) welcomed 24 new Green Schools in addition to 11 schools being re-certified in a ceremony May 31 in the Theater of the Community College of Baltimore County.

This year marks the highest number of Green Schools named in a single year since the programs inception in 1999. With these new schools, there are now 136 Maryland schools with Green School status.

The Maryland Green School Awards Program is a holistic, integrated approach to authentic learning that incorporates local environmental issue investigation and professional development with environmental best management practices and community stewardship. The program celebrates Maryland’s model environmental education efforts, which combine classroom studies with the use of best management practices at schools and involve the community.

“I’m thrilled that so many of our Maryland schools are integrating environmental education into their curriculum and that we continue to see their efforts in our communities,” said State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick.

A diverse team of educators representing the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), MAEOE, Office of the Governor, the Maryland Association of Student Councils, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Environment developed the program.

Congressman Wayne Gilchrest and Ed Davis of Constellation Energy, a Green School supporter, joined Dr. Grasmick and many of the local school system superintendents represented by the new Green Schools.

“These are noncompetitive awards to recognize the achievement of schools meeting strict environmental education criteria,” said Carol Towle, MAEOE Executive Director. “The Green School designation lasts for three years and 50 percent of previous Green School Award winners have been re-certified demonstrating their commitment to the environment.”

Some of the Green School projects included improving school outdoor environments through landscaping, establishing a butterfly garden, having a poster contest to encourage recycling, practicing water conservation and water pollution prevention, raising and releasing Diamond Back Terrapins, growing oysters, starting a stream erosion prevention program, and creating an outdoor classroom.

2006 Maryland Green Schools (St. Mary’s, Calvert, Anne Arundel counties):

Anne Arundel County
–           Folger McKinsey Elementary School
–           Gibson Island Country Day

Calvert County
–           Calvert Elementary School

St Mary’s County

–           Oakville Elementary School

2006 Schools Re-certifying

Calvert County
–           Huntingtown Elementary School, 1999, 2002, 2006
–           Patuxent Elementary School, 1999, 2002, 2006

St Mary’s County
–           Hollywood Elementary School, 1999, 2002, 2006