News from the DNR Office of Communications

Day Care Opens New Outdoor Sensory Garden At DNR Headquarters

Annapolis, MD (June 7, 2010) — A new sensory garden has opened at the Play & Learn Day Care Center, located at the Annapolis headquarters of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This new area provides a safe, multi-sensory play garden where the 100 children who attend Play & Learn can use their creativity and imaginations while learning about the outdoors and natural world. This addition is part of ongoing renovations at Play & Learn’s playground.

“Educating children about environmental issues and engaging them with the outdoors is a high priority at DNR,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “Strengthening those efforts here at our headquarters advances our work to cultivate a strong sense of environmental stewardship in Maryland’s young people.”

About 30 volunteers, including DNR educators, the staff of Play & Learn, parents and members of the Chesapeake Outdoors Group (COG) met on May 22 to plant the sensory garden in the infant/toddler play area. The new garden features plants to touch, taste and smell, as well as a grassy area for the children to sit on.

A committee was formed in 2009 to plan a major renovation of the Play & Learn playground to turn it into a natural play area. A renovation has been designed by the world renowned landscape architect, Robin Moore, and will be implemented as funds become available. The finished natural play area will include native plants, a rain garden, an arbor and other improvements to better connect children with their natural environment.

The sensory garden was made possible by a $1000 grant from Unity Gardens, Inc. and the assistance of COG, which has been instrumental in making the garden a reality. The children at Play & Learn also held a trike-a-thon and raised over $2000 to expand the garden, and additional funding opportunities are being sought to add to this project over the next few years.

This project was developed under the Governor’s Partnership for Children in Nature, which aims to ensure all Maryland young people have the opportunity to connect with their natural world and grow to become informed and responsible stewards.

   June 7, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 467,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at