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DNR’S Own Wins Maryland Outdoor Educator Of 2011

Annapolis, Md. (February 16, 2011) - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) very own, Martha Shaum, has won a statewide education award. The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) presented Shaum with the Robert Finton Outdoor Educator of the Year Award on February 10.

“Martha’s innovative, hands-on activities and her contagious passion for the outdoors make learning fun and memorable,” said educator Lee Franklin of the Gunston School. “She is such a positive force with her 'YES, we can do it!' attitude, bubbly and energetic personality and beautiful smile.”

Shaum has worked within DNR’s Chesapeake and Coastal Service for more than five years as the Angler Education Coordinator. She leads the Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs program, which teaches school students, summer campers and even adults how to fish. She also develops curricula on aquatic animals, including fish husbandry programs. Shaum combines science with important conservation messages to deliver captivating lessons to children in school, and at education and outreach events.

Martha Shaum
Martha Shaum (second from L) is congratulated by the Finton family after receiving the Robert Finton Outdoor Educator of the Year Award. (L to R) Bob Finton’s daughter Jillian, son James and wife Jeannine

“Martha believes that educating the future stewards of the environment - connecting them with the outdoors and the living things in it - is the only way to ensure its preservation,” said Franklin. “She is an incredible role model, a dedicated and committed advocate for environmental education and conservation.”

The Robert Finton Outdoor Educator of the Year Award recognizes individuals who demonstrate leadership and innovation in environmental and outdoor education. This year’s annual MAEOE conference was held in Ocean City, Md. and had more than 600 attendees.

Finton personified enthusiasm, innovation and excellence in the field of environmental education. He served as education coordinator of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland, a partnership between DNR, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other local/State agencies. It was during his time with DNR that Finton joined MAEOE and took an active role in planning the annual conference. He was recognized posthumously as a NOAA Environmental Hero in 2006.

“He made a tremendous contribution in elevating the visibility of the reserve system within NOAA and in establishing the Maryland NERR [National Estuarine Research Reserve] as a premier research and education venue,” said NOAA. “Finton combined his love for children, the outdoors and science with an incredible ability to entertain and engage people.”

The Robert Finton Outdoor Educator of the Year Award honors his memory by rewarding the efforts of those who strive for these qualities. The award began in 2007; Martha is the 6th recipient.

   February 16, 2012

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

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 one-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. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at