February 27, 2024
Annapolis, US 61 F

County-Schools partnership announced to remove invasive species

County Executive Steve Schuh, Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. George Arlotto and Recreation and Parks Director, Rick Anthony announced the launch of a new partnership to support ninth-grade students in learning about and actively removing invasive plant species from county community and regional parks. The partnership leverages resources across the district to support teachers in implementing the new Environmental Science project-based learning curriculum.

“I’m proud of the collaborative efforts between several of our county agencies to make an exceptional environmental education program like this possible for our students,” said County Executive, Steve Schuh. “Engaging youth in local stewardship opportunities not only enhances their learning experiences but also improves the health and beautification of our county parks for all to enjoy.”

Through the partnership of the AACPS Environmental Literacy and Outdoor Education and Science offices and the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks, students will have expanded field experience opportunities and increase the use of the county’s beautiful, local parks. By supporting the curriculum and providing hands-on, real world application of learning, these experiences bring learning to life.

“Building capacity and opportunities through our partners strengthens the authentic learning for our students,” Dr. Arlotto said. “The Environmental Science curriculum is greatly enhanced by the support of the rangers and volunteers who assist in engaging our students in environmental action that helps to care for our parks. Through programs like this we are furthering our mission of creating the next generation of sound environmental stewards.”

To increase resources for the environmental science teachers and to connect students with professionals in the field, this partnership created mentor groups in each of six county schools: Arundel, Broadneck, Meade, Northeast, Severna Park, and Southern. Each mentor group consists of two County Park Rangers who will oversee, assist, and support students during their visits to the parks, and Anne Arundel County Weed Resistance and/or Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards, who volunteer their time to provide technical knowledge about invasive plant species in the county.

By the end of April 2018, sixteen teachers and more than 800 students will survey and develop management plans for dozens of plots of land in six county and regional parks as part of several field experiences culminating with a removal and remediation project field day at each park.

While our county and regional parks are immensely valuable for their rich natural and cultural resources, they also serve as living classrooms where young people can engage in civic action that enhances both the beauty and ecological sustainability of our parks,” says Mr. Anthony. “This partnership creates an opportunity for future stewards to contribute to increased quality of life in Anne Arundel County”.

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