Governor Martin O'Malley today celebrated environmental education with hundreds of students, teachers, and administrators from nearly 100 Maryland schools, part of the Governor's Partnership for Children in Nature and Maryland Green Schools program. Governor O'Malley presented a Smart, Green & Growing Award to the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) during the event, where children participated in interactive workshops and activities to learn about environmental issues in Maryland.
"Maryland Green Schools help cultivate a sense of responsibility and understanding in Maryland's next generation of environmental stewards," said Governor O'Malley. "The work that these groups have done through the Maryland Green School Program has helped raise the standard of environmental education in our schools. Together, we've grown this program to become a national model of environmental literacy for other states to follow."
Over 1600 students, teachers, administrators and parents attended and participated in today's event designed to "ignite, invite and inspire" future Maryland Green Schools. MAEOE received the Youth Education and Awareness Smart, Green & Growing Award in honor of its Maryland Green School Program, which certifies schools and other institutions in Maryland that have implemented sustainable practices in their buildings, integrated environmental education into their curricula and involved the community in enhancing students' environmental learning.
During today's event, MAEOE recognized and certified its twelfth cohort of Maryland Green Schools and Maryland Green Centers, institutions that lead Maryland in environmental awareness and education.
Governor at children in nature eventThroughout the day, 78 new schools and five new centers were certified as Maryland Green Schools and received the Maryland Green Flag as a symbol of their commitment to environmental awareness. Nineteen schools were recertified after four years of continued efforts as Green Schools, and six schools were named Model Green Schools in honor of twelve years of dedication to environmental awareness and education. With today's additions, 16 percent of all schools in Maryland are certified as Green Schools.
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 a national model, the Governor created the Maryland Civic Justice Corps and recently issued the Maryland Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights. The partnership's report and recommendations were presented to Governor O'Malley in April of last year.
During the recent legislative session, the O'Malley-Brown Administration secured record funding for Maryland's No.1 ranked public schools for the third consecutive year, with an investment of more than $5.7 billion.