Thousands Attend Maryland Green School Youth Summit
Students get hands-on learning with an environmental celebration at Sandy Point State Park.
A beautiful day at Sandy Point State Park was the perfect setting for a recent statewide celebration of the dozens of schools across Maryland certified or recertified this year as an official “Maryland Green School.”
Billed as the “Maryland Green School Youth Summit,” the event recognized the efforts of Green Schools while providing students with hands-on watershed education from environmentally friendly businesses and organizations like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, National Geographic, the National Wildlife Federation and the Maryland Park Service.
“The Green Schools program is really growing and we needed a bigger venue, so we thought Sandy Point would provide a wonderful environmental educational opportunity,” said Joanne Schmader, the Maryland Green Schools coordinator.
In fact, 58 new schools received their Maryland Green School flags this year, with 17 being recertified and six recertified for the second time. Two schools were certified as Model Maryland Green Schools.
Aside from the ceremonies, the event also included 50 learning stations, environmental campaign workshops, peer learning and a youth summit town hall meeting where students brought up environmental concerns with elected officials.
Students were treated to informative demonstrations on everything from using wind and solar power, to building floatable buoys, to viewing (and even holding) live animals.
Howard County's Pointer Run Elementary student Maddie Ulman said her favorite activity was holding a snake.
“They were about to shed, you could see it in their eyes,” said Maddie. “They were very muscular. You could feel their muscles.”
Jordan Riley of Meade Middle School said he enjoyed the interpretive nature hike. “We saw different animals and learned about why they are in the area,” he said.
As a finale for the day’s festivities, students made kites out of recycled materials and wrote a message on it explaining what they will do to improve their community.
The summit was hosted by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland State Department of Education and the Governor’s Partnership for Children in Nature.
Maryland Green Schools from Prince George's County in 2011: Friends Community School, Robert Goddard French Immersion, Robert Goddard Montessori School
For a complete list of all the Maryland Green Schools, see the MAEOE's website.