News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Joins Students And Sponsors At Downs Park Oyster Reef Celebration

Annapolis, MD (June 17, 2010) — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Artificial Reef Initiative joined Anne Arundel County officials and representatives of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Coastal Conservation Association, Pasadena Sport Fishing Group, and the students from Chesapeake Middle School today to kickoff the first deployment of artificial reef material around the Downs Park Fishing Pier.

“This is a great opportunity for these students,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Not only are they playing a part in cleaning up the Bay by creating new reefs that will help improve shellfish habitats and fishing, but they are also learning how to become better stewards for the future and gaining a respect for their natural world.”

Students of Chesapeake Middle School will be making reef balls to improve conditions for fish, oysters, and the community, with the help of DNR Fisheries and the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative (MARI) partners. Their plan included the Downs Park Pier as a suitable site.

“This project not only helps protect our coral reefs but also serves as a great way for students to get involved in environmental stewardship,” said Tom O’Connell, director of DNR Fisheries Service.

On June 9, the students presented their work to Governor Martin O’Malley and the Board of Public Works at the statehouse in Annapolis where the proposal was approved.

To ensure all Maryland young people have the opportunity to connect with their natural world and grow to become informed and responsible stewards, Governor Martin O’Malley established the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature in 2008. Under the initiative, which is now being used as a national model, the Governor created the Maryland Civic Justice Corps and recently issued the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights. A plan to implement the partnership’s report and recommendations – presented to Governor O’Malley in April -- is under development. During the 2009 legislative session, the O’Malley-Brown Administration secured record funding for Maryland’s No.1 ranked public schools for the third consecutive year, with an investment of more than $5.5 billion.

   June 17, 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