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DNR Celebrates The Great American Backyard Campout

Encourages Outdoor Recreation throughout the Summer

Annapolis, Md. (June 23, 2011) – The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds Marylanders to get outdoors and celebrate summer through the National Wildlife Federation’s 7th annual Great American Backyard Campout June 25.

“One night outside, under the stars can create a lifetime of family memories,” said First Lady, Judge Katie O’Malley. “By encouraging our children to appreciate and enjoy nature, we are teaching them to respect their natural resources, helping to create responsible stewards.”

Mrs. O’Malley kicked-off the Great American Backyard Campout last week with help from the National Wildlife Federation and Maryland Park Service by pitching a tent with a group of local children on the Government House lawn. Raw video of the event available for media to download at http://dnrweb.dnr.state.md.us/download/campout/ (right-click on .mov file and choose save to download).

“One of the greatest threats to wildlife is a generation of children entirely disconnected from nature,” said Tony Caligiuri, mid-Atlantic regional executive director for the National Wildlife Federation. “The Great American Backyard Campout provides a simple, inexpensive way for families to have fun, while rediscovering the great outdoors.”

The Great American Backyard Campout encourages families and children nationwide to pitch a tent in a State Park, Forest or even in their own backyard. Camp under the stars is one of 10 outdoor activities that make up the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, introduced by Governor Martin O’Malley in 2009.

“June is Great Outdoors Month, initiating a summer full of exceptional opportunities to enjoy our natural world with friends and family,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “Whether camping under the night sky, spending a day at one of our beautiful State Parks or fishing on a pier, our State’s outdoors recreational opportunities are second to none.”

The Maryland Park Service will host special events June 25 and 26 at nine State Parks that will include campfires, outdoor cooking classes, animal programs, guided canoeing and hiking and beachcombing. Participating parks are Deep Creek Lake, New Germany, Dan’s Mountain, Cunningham Falls, Patapsco Valley, Elk Neck, Sandy Point, Point Lookout and Pocomoke River State Parks. Details on each event are available at dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/GABC_2011.asp

To ensure all Maryland young people have the opportunity to connect with their natural world and grow to become informed and responsible stewards, Governor O’Malley established the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature in 2008. Under this initiative, which is now being used as a national model, an ambitious set of actions focus on improving connections with nature during the school day as well as outside of school and in communities.

On June 21 2011, the State Board of Education approved an Environmental Literacy Graduation Requirement, making Maryland the first state in the country to ensure every student will receive a comprehensive, diverse environmental education that meets the approval of the State Superintendent of Schools.


   June 23, 2011

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly a half-million 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 11 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