Annapolis, Md. ─ With summer right around the corner the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature is inviting Maryland organizations to post and promote their nature-inspired events and activities through the new Celebrate Maryland Outdoors website. The 2-week celebration kicks off in conjunction with National Get Outdoors Day on June 9 and culminates with the Great American Backyard Campout on June 23.
"The celebration will promote events across Maryland over two weeks in the middle of Great Outdoors Month, helping families kick off their summer by getting outside and exploring the State's natural wonders," said Britt Slattery, director of conservation education for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and coordinator of the Partnership. "We hope to set the tone for a summer full of outdoor experiences that Marylanders will want to continue throughout the year."
Beginning immediately, the Partnership is asking environmental groups and other organizations ─ including faith or community groups, schools and youth clubs ─ to post information about their outdoor events, activities, and sites to visit such as parks, trails and natural areas.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Partnership members will promote the celebration and the site through a variety of outlets over the weeks ahead. Visitors will be able choose any activity from the Maryland Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights, which leads them to bird-watching hikes, archery, kayaking, fishing, gardening, camping and much more! Participants are also invited to share stories and photographs of their adventures, to encourage others to getoutside. And most of the opportunities are also extremely affordable ─ if not free.
The website offers a one-stop shop where parents can find a wide variety of outdoor opportunities throughout the S tate. Organizations that h ost an event will be asked to report the results to allow the Partnership to develop a collective baseline with which to measure participation levels in these activities from year to year.
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, which involves numerous agencies and organizations. Under this initiative, which is now being used as a national model, an ambitious set of actions focuses on improving connections with nature during the school day as well as outside of school and in communities. With help from the Partnership, Maryland recently became the first state to adopt a high school graduation environmental literacy requirement.
The Celebrate Maryland Outdoors website is available at www.dnr.state.md.us/cin/GOM/
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