Classroom Resources for Environmental Educators

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources provides environmental educators with a variety of classroom resources. Additional we offer many outdoor field learning experiences, as well as program funding support.

Curriculum/Teacher Packets | Funding
Outdoor Field Experiences for Students | In-class Resources

Curriculum/Teacher Packets

Aquatic Resources Education

Contact: Cindy Etgen
Phone: 410-260-8716
Email: cindy.etgen@
Description: The goal of Maryland’s Aquatic Resource Education (ARE) Program is to instill a respect for Maryland's aquatic resources through professional development opportunities for educators, curriculum that meets state science, math, geography, and reading standards, hands-on aquatic experiences for students, and classroom funding opportunities.

Arbor Day Curriculum

The Teacher's Arbor Day Guide has been written by Maryland elementary school educators who have been involved with Arbor Day at their schools. The development of the Guide is a cooperative effort between Maryland's Department of Natural Resources and the State Department of Education. We have tried to make the activities child-centered, fun and authentic, while keeping the use of activities flexible enough to meet your particular class or school needs.

Be Part of Something BIG

Be Part of Something BIG! teacher's guide is designed for Grades 3-8 and provides educators and students the opportunity to gain hands-on experiences with water quality monitoring. This series of activities is designed to help your class or student group learn more about the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. It does not need to be conducted in any particular order; however, some activities do build on one another.

Eyes on the Bay - Lesson Plans

Contact: Brian R. Smith
Phone: 410-260-8644
Description: These resources and lesson plans were developed to support science and environmental studies educators in integrating these topics within the regular curriculum when studying Maryland's Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Bays. Our goal is to integrate student learning of science concepts with the use of technology and current scientific data. We aim to facilitate the involvement of teachers and students in authentic science and environmental investigations. In this lesson series, the Eyes on the Bay website is used to gather information and interpret data. We encourage educators to visit local streams and use probes and other water quality testing kits to enhance their use of technology (see Resources section). Each lesson can be used individually or as a complete package to teach water quality concepts. Educators may adapt any of the lessons to meet their specific needs.

Power Up!

Description: Power UP! Activity guide examines the issues of electric power generation in Maryland. This includes how and where electricity is produced, its transmission, environmental impacts and energy conservation at home and in the school. Activities use a variety of teacher/learning strategies: small group cooperative learning, individual tasks, reading, lab investigations, mapping and models.

Stream ReLeaf Activities

Contact: Anne Hairston-Strang
Phone: 410-260-8509
Description: Student Service Learning and classroom activities for middle school students and teachers exploring riparian forest buffers in communities and along the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Written for MSPAP outcomes.

Where Do We Grow from Here?

Contact: Sandy Olek
Phone: 410-260-8979
Description: A teacher’s resource guide on growth and its impacts in Maryland. Includes lesson plans, maps, and background information.


Aquatic Resources Education Grants

Contact: Cindy Etgen
Phone: 410-260-8716
Email: cindy.etgen@
Description: A reimbursement grants program for public/private schools and school systems. Grants of $1,000 per school and up to $4,000 per school district are available to conduct aquatics related projects. Five ARE regional mini-conferences are held during the school year attracting 80-130 teachers per mini-conference. A total of 60-70 workshops are featured each year. The mini-conferences take place at outdoor education centers around the state.

Outdoor Field Experiences for Students

Cedarville Hatchery Visitor Center

Contact: Mary Groves
Phone: 301-888-2423
Cedarville Work Center
Rt.4, Box 106-E
Brandywine, MD 20613
Description: Exhibits on Fish species and sampling techniques. Groups up to 30 people by appointment. Open to general public Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bay Backpack

Bay Backpack provides educators with the necessary resources to give their students a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE), which are extensive projects that allow students to gain a deep understanding of environmental issues in the Chesapeake Bay and its local streams and rivers.

Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Contact: Coreen Weilminster - Education Coordinator
Phone: 410-260-8731
Description: The Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland protects portions of the Bay ecosystem for research and education. These areas include Monie Bay, Jug Bay and Otter Point Creek. The Reserve serves as a field laboratory for estuarine research and education, promotes informed coastal decision making based on scientific research, and strengthens public awareness, understanding and stewardship of estuaries and their watersheds. Call for more information on specific programs in each location.

Deep Creek Lake Discovery Center

Description: The Deep Creek Lake Discovery Center, the Department of Natural Resources’ new interpretive environmental center. Nestled along the shores of Deep Creek Lake at Deep Creek Lake State Park, the Discovery Center is a one-of-a-kind educational venue for people of all ages. Through hands-on exhibits that showcase the natural resources of Western Maryland, families can learn about flora and fauna, wildlife, cultural and historical heritage that have turned this former logging and coal mining region into a popular modern day vacation destination. For more information call 301-387-7067 or check out our web site.

The Helen Avalynne Tawes Garden

Contact: Jay Myers
Phone: 410-260-8184
Description: Named in honor of Mrs. J. Millard Tawes, a former first lady of Maryland, the five acre Tawes Garden features representations of the state’s various geographic areas. They include a Western Maryland forest, a streamside environment and an Eastern Shore peninsula. In addition, the barrier-free garden contains pleasant ponds; a raised planter with plants of varied textures, tastes and fragrances; and many cultivated plantings. The garden is open daily and guided tours and special programs are offered throughout the year.

The Bay Game

Contact: Office of Communications & Marketing
Phone: 410-260-8021
Description: Maryland’s free Bay Game, the first of its type in the country.

Scales and Tales

Contact: Angela Pease, Chief of Interpretation
Phone: 410-260-8150
Description: Scales and Tales, an environmental education program of the State Park Service, affords people the opportunity to see live wildlife, mostly native to Maryland, up close and personal. This informative and entertaining program uses live birds of prey and reptiles, that cannot be released back into the wild) to promote stewardship of our wildlife and other natural resources. Through the stories, or “tales” of how these animals come into the care of the program, Scales and Tales naturalists discuss environmental issues, such as habitat loss, environmental pollution, resource management and biodiversity.

In-class resources

Maryland State Department of Education

Maryland Wildlife

Patricia Handy
Description: A list of wildlife species that can be found in Maryland with many interesting fact sheets found on the DNR web site. If you have ever wondered wild animals live in Maryland, where that animal live, what they eat or look like, then this is the web site for you. Wildlife Species fact sheets covers basic animal characteristics and habitat as well as interesting facts.

Wildlife Education Trunks

Patricia Handy
Description: Bring the outside into your classroom with these unique hands-on, interdisciplinary teaching tools. These education trunks are designed to educate students while building on fundamental disciplines like math, art, social studies, science, language arts and physical education. Education Trunks are available free to educators in Maryland for a one to two week period, depending on availability. Please call the location nearest you to reserve an education trunk. You will be responsible for picking up and dropping off the education trunk(s) at their appropriate location. Suitable for Grades K-12.

Big Tree Champions

Contact: John Bennett
Phone: 410-287-5980
Description: The oldest such survey in America, the program maintains an on line register and photo base of the largest trees of their species throughout the state. Locations of the public access trees are specified with precise directions and GPS coordinates for possible geocache and computer mapping activities. A list of the still living Maryland Bicentennial Trees are posted for historical projects.

Chesapeake Bay Word Search

A free word search game that will teach you Chesapeake Bay vocabulary. You can print this out and have some real fun.

Chesapeake Academic Resources for Teachers

Learn about Chesapeake Bay teaching resources, professional development opportunities, what's going on in your state, and more. This is an excellent resource for all your Bay education needs.


Contact: Stacy Epperson
Phone: 410-260-8775
Description: A hands-on interdisciplinary competition for high school students focusing on forestry, soils, aquatics, wildlife, and current topics. DNR professionals serve as instructors with other resource professionals. Sponsored by the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Green Schools Awards Program

Contact: Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education
Description: The Governor’s Green School Awards Program celebrates Maryland’s model environmental education efforts which combine classroom studies with the use of best management practices at schools and involve the community. These are noncompetitive awards to recognize and celebrate the achievement of schools meeting strict environmental education criteria. For more information visit the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education at

TEAM DNR (Teaching Environmental Awareness in Maryland)

Contact: Chris Hintz
Phone: 410-260-8809
Description: TEAM DNR is a volunteer program providing an in-class presentation on the Bay Watershed intended for 5th grade students. Trained volunteers deliver classroom programs at the request of teachers. The presentations consist of three activities and lasts about 50 minutes. This service offers teachers the opportunity to enhance their Chesapeake Bay education efforts. Requests are currently being coordinated for the spring of 1998 and the following school year.

The DNR Gift Shop

Description: The DNR Gift shop has a selection of unique gifts that are sure to please anyone for any occasion. The available selections are listed and ordering information is included. We have everything from hunting and fishing licenses to commemorative prints and stamps.

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