The Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature Recommendations
In April 2009, The Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature Report & Recommendations for Governor Martin O'Malley was released including recommendations to connect kids to nature during the school day, in communities and on public lands:
Connecting Communities & Families to Nature
- Incorporate nature play spaces into community health planning, land use planning and community development design.
- Establish a Maryland Trail Development Office to address trail planning and funding, trail advocacy, a one-stop trail GIS database, and the development of a new Maryland Trail Town Program.
- Develop a strategic state park and public lands Interpretive and Outdoor Classroom Plan, identifying funding needs to support a greater presence of park rangers and seasonal naturalist staff.
Reaching Out to Underserved Communities
- Develop and implement a comprehensive program to increase access and utilization of public lands and waterways for underserved communities.
- Expand and improve the existing Civic Conservation Corps (CJC) model to serve 1,000 at-risk youth statewide by 2015 with summer conservation jobs and outdoor enrichment activities.
Strengthening Student's Connection to Nature During the School Day
- Provide an annual meaningful outdoor environmental education experience for every student every year, pre-K through grade 12.
- Require for graduation that every high school student take and pass a designated environmental literacy "course of study".
- Establish a comprehensive initiative to green all schools and school grounds, and embed schoolyard habitat programs as integrated indoor and outdoor instructional components of the curriculum.
- Provide professional development for teachers, state park rangers and naturalists, and other service providers.
- Adopt the Maryland State Environmental Literacy Standards
The Partnership is currently focusing on four priority areas: Outreach, Community Planning, Environmental Literacy, and Health & Agriculture (Food) Connections. Learn more about the Maryland Children in Nature Partnership, their current efforts, and opportunities to become involved.