Governor O'Malley Commends Board Of Education On Approving The Environmental Literacy Graduation Requirement

Baltimore, Md. (October 28, 2010) — Governor Martin O’Malley commended the Board of Education today for approving an Environmental Literacy Graduation Requirement. The Environmental Literacy Graduation Requirement will ensure Maryland students receive vital exposure to our natural world through the classroom, provide a foundation for green jobs, improve student health and have an overall impact on Maryland.

“I applaud the Board of Education for approving this ground-breaking proposal,” said Governor O’Malley. “Enacting this environmental graduation requirement is another step toward keeping Maryland’s education system in the forefront, developing green jobs and creating the next generation of stewards.”

Under the new graduation requirement, public schools will be required to infuse core subjects with lessons about conservation, smart growth and the health of our natural world. Every five years, the local school systems will report to the State to guarantee that students are meeting the requirements. The State can implement the new requirement without additional funding or staff. The new requirement will position the State for much-needed federal funding through the No Child Left Inside Act currently before Congress.

“The Chesapeake Bay Trust applauds the leadership of Governor O’Malley and the co-chairs of Maryland’s Partnership for Children in Nature, Department of Natural Resources Secretary John Griffin and State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick, in advancing this nationally significant environmental literacy requirement for the State of Maryland,” said Allen Hance, Executive Director of the Trust. “For the past 25 years, with support that Marylanders provide through the purchase of Treasure the Chesapeake license plates, the Trust has made grants to support environmental education initiatives in schools throughout Maryland. We look forward to working collaboratively with local school systems and their partners to implement high-quality, comprehensive environmental literacy programs for students across the state.”

The impact these new guidelines will have on Maryland students is threefold:

  • Research has shown that environmental lessons, integrated into a standard curriculum, will have a positive impact on student achievements in core subjects such as reading, math and social studies.
  • Student overall health is improved by taking the classroom outside and exposing them to outdoor recreational learning activities.
  • The new guidelines will provide critical tools for a 21st century workforce, giving students not only the skills they need for green jobs, but a broader understanding of the problems our natural world faces.

“I also want to thank Don Baugh, vice president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and president of the Maryland and National No Child Left Inside Coalition for his outstanding leadership on this issue,” said Governor O’Malley. “This is just one piece of the puzzle. Every child deserves the right to discover and enjoy our natural world. The No Child Left Inside Coalition has made important strides towards ensuring Maryland children connect with nature.”

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.


   October 28, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office | 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 www.dnr.maryland.gov

ESLC is a private, nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to the preservation of farmland and habitat on the Eastern Shore. Funded by member contributions, ESLC helps landowners to discover, evaluate and implement any of the voluntary land preservation options available. Since its inception in 1990, ESLC has helped landowners to protect nearly 50,000 acres of farmland and important habitat on 251 Eastern Shore properties. Visit www.eslc.org for more information.