New requirement alters the nature of environmental education in Maryland | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

New requirement alters the nature of environmental education in Maryland

Play associated audio
An educational requirement will promotes environmental awareness, and it encourage hands-on learning that makes all lessons come alive.
Audubon Society
An educational requirement will promotes environmental awareness, and it encourage hands-on learning that makes all lessons come alive.

Under a new environmental education requirement in the state, students must be able to understand matter and energy, and study the significance of sustainability -- or, as 7-year-old Scott Holland says, why it's important to protect the environment and all of its creatures.

"Some people just pick a bunch of leaves off trees and grab bugs like this and squeeze them and it’s not nice," he says.

Karen Vernon, director of the camp at the Audubon Society, helped lobby for the new requirement. She says the requirement not only promotes environmental awareness, but it encourages the kind of learning that makes all lessons come alive.

"I think that a lot of kids find that this natural environment gives them an opportunity to express themselves in a way that they’re not able to inside the classroom," she says.

Still, Vernon sees some challenges.

"Schools have a lot of mandates that they are asked to fulfill and for teachers in the classroom it can be challenging," she says.

Plus, she says, there's no additional funding, so it could be difficult for teachers to get the training they need.

"And that's an issue for the teachers, how comfortable are they talking about environmental sciences. And truly, how comfortable are they going outside their classroom with their kids?" she asks.

But Maryland State Department of Education spokesperson Bill Reinhard says the requirement doesn't need additional funding because many schools already offer environmental education, and the topics will be integrated into existing subjects.

"It's not a separate course," he says. "But we think it's important that students have this as part of their high school education."

And, when it comes to environmental education, getting by with finite resources is all part of the lesson.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, April 20, 2015

You can hear music from Brazil this week at two Bossa Nova concerts.

NPR

This Robot Chef Has Mastered Crab Bisque

The system, a pair of robotic arms, learned to cook by mimicking the motions of a top chef. Even though it can't smell or taste, its maker says the robot should be able to make 2,000 meals by 2017.
WAMU 88.5

Morale Is Low Among Government Workers, But What Can Be Done?

Lawmakers are awaiting the results of a Government Accountability Office on low morale across federal agencies. But can Congress help fix a problem they played a large part in creating?

NPR

VW Camper Van Gets An Electric Makeover

Talk about a time warp! The iconic VW camper is getting a modern reboot. This time, it's electric.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.