Co-Chair: Mark J. Belton, Secretary of Natural Resources
Co-Chair: Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D., State Superintendent of Schools

[photo, Tawes State Office Building (wings E & D), view from Taylor Ave., Annapolis, Maryland] Representing Department of Agriculture: Joseph Bartenfelder

Representing Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Thomas C. Ackerman

Representing Chesapeake Bay Trust: Jana L. D. Davis, Ph.D.

Representing Howard County Public School System: one vacancy

Tawes State Office Building (wings E & D), view from Taylor Ave., Annapolis, Maryland, February 2001. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

Representing Montgomery County Public School System: Erick J. Lang, Ed.D.

Representing Montgomery Dept. of Parks: John Nissel

Representing National Aquarium: Nancy A. Hotchkiss

Representing National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration: Christos Michalopolos, Ph.D.

Representing U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Genevieve P. LaRouche

Representing Alice Ferguson Foundation: Lori Arguelles

Representing Audubon Maryland-DC: Mark Scallion

Representing Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education: Laura J. Collard

Representing Maryland Recreation & Parks Association: Charles J. Montrie

Representing National Wildlife Federation: Hilary Harp Falk

Staff: Britt E. Slattery

c/o Maryland Park Service, Department of Natural Resources
Tawes State Office Building, E-3
580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis, MD 21401 - 2397
(410) 260-8715

The Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature was created by the Governor in April 2008 (Executive Order 01.01.2008.06; Executive Order 01.01.2008.10), and restructured in January 2012 by a Memorandum of Agreement. In June 2017, the Partnership was rescinded and replaced by the Project Green Classrooms Initiative (Executive Order 01.01.2017.12).

To achieve its primary goal of enabling children to spend more time outdoors and experience the natural environment, the Partnership devised two plans. The first focused on developing more opportunities for outdoor recreation and education. It provided for increased support and expansion of Schoolyard Habitat Programs; the creation of walking and biking trail systems that connect schools, parks, and communities; green initiatives to form nature play areas in communities; and the establishment of a statewide Civic Justice Corps for youths within the Juvenile Justice System to work in conservation crews for the Maryland Park Service. The Plan stipulated how to initiate an outdoor classroom program; provide increased access to State naturalists; and partner with organizations serving minority children to increase their outdoor experiences in State parks and public lands.

The second part of the plan, the State Environmental Literacy Plan, reviewed and assessed the current state of environmental education in Maryland. It identified the elements necessary for a curriculum to develop environmentally literate students, and what outdoor activities should be integrated into that curriculum. Further, the Plan noted how to prepare teachers and educators to teach environmental literacy; gave methods for measuring and reporting progress in environmental education; and provided for Plan updates.

In January 2012, sixteen Partners signed a Memorandum of Agreement to work together to finish implementing the Plans already in place, and sustain and advance the goals of the Partnership. Under the Memorandum of Agreement, the Partnership developed an annual work plan; implemented actions outlined in the work plan; and annually reported on its progress. Periodically, the Partnership updated the Plan to reflect community needs, changes in technology and new ways to engage children and parents; and addressed funding needs and availability.

The sixteen members of the Partnership were the Department of Agriculture; the State Department of Education; the Department of Natural Resources; the Chesapeake Bay Foundation; the Chesapeake Bay Trust; the Howard County Public School System; the Montgomery County Public School System; the Montgomery County Department of Parks, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the National Aquarium; the Alice Ferguson Foundation; Audubon Maryland-DC; the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education; the Maryland No Child Left Inside Coalition; the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association; and the National Wildlife Federation.

The Partnership was headed by the Leadership Team, which included representatives of the signatory agencies to the Memorandum of Agreement. The Secretary of Natural Resources and the State Superintendent of Schools co-chaired the Leadership Team.

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