St. Mary's Recognizes DNR for Support of Environmental Ed.

LEXINGTON PARK, Md. (April 30, 2008) – In acknowledgement of Governor O’Malley’s designation of April as Environmental Education Month, the Board of Education of St. Mary’s County recognized the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Power Plant Research Program for its 30 year partnership with the public school system. The Elms Environmental Education Center – situated on the Bay-front portion of the state-owned property – serves as a site for interdisciplinary and hands-on outdoor education.

“We have had an outstanding relationship with the Department of Natural Resources over the past 30 years, and this recognition is long overdue,” said Bradley Clements, St. Mary’s Public School Chief Operating Officer. “The value of Elms Environmental Education Center is priceless, and we look forward to the expanding the program in the future.”

Established in 1978, the Elms Environmental Education Center is utilized every day of the school year by St. Mary’s County Public Schools and private schools statewide for environmental education. Each year, more than 7,000 students visit the center and the surrounding wetlands, cutoff ponds, forest and waterfront. As programming is offered for pre-kindergarten students through grade 12, at some point in the course of their education every St. Mary’s Public School student will have visited the center.

“Environmental education is crucially important for children to develop a connection to the natural world. It is not often we can coordinate such a successful educational program with a proposed power plant site,” said Pete Dunbar, Director of the Power Plant Research Program. “We have established a long term lease to ensure that this excellent program continues.”

The 1100 acre Elms property, located north of Point Lookout State Park, protects 6,000 feet of waterfront on the Chesapeake Bay, including three large cutoff ponds, a feature unique to the U.S. eastern coast. Currently, the property functions as a wildlife management area, and contains a forest service demonstration zone, as well as St. Mary’s County’s Elms Beach Park.

Source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

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