MARYLAND: Ryan Pleune has been chosen to lead MAEOE’s Maryland Green School Program as it enters a period of unprecedented growth. “Originally from Utah, Ryan will bring a fresh perspective and a wealth of new ideas to the program. He is going to broaden the Maryland Green School program by exploring opportunites to connect the program to education reform. I’m excited about the bright future of the program” explained MAEOE Executive Director Bronwyn Mitchell.
Since 1999, 266 or approximately 10 percent of Maryland public and independent schools have been certified as Maryland Green Schools through MAEOE’s signature program, which was recognized by Governor O’Malley as a model in his Children in Nature Partnership State Environmental Literacy Plan. The program was also recently featured in a PBS national documentary highlighting Green School initiatives, scheduled to air on Earth Day 2010. MAEOE’s Maryland Green Schools initiative challenges schools to integrate the environment into every aspect of the school culture including professional development, curricular connections, student-led projects which model environmental best management practices, and community engagement.
Interest in Maryland Green Schools has grown steadily throughout the program’s history, although Mitchell explained that the program has entered a period of hyper-growth. “It seems every school wants to be a Maryland Green School -- and wants to be one now!” She estimates that the record set in 2009 of 70 new Maryland Green Schools will easily be eclipsed in 2010.
Mr. Pleune will put his experience as a classroom teacher and outdoor educator, along with innovative ideas and his accessible yet charismatic personality, to work as MAEOE’s Maryland Green School Coordinator beginning on October 13. Pleune is anxious to get started, and MAEOE is equally anxious to have him, his enthusiasm, and his dynamic ideas on board as soon as possible.
ABOUT MAEOE: Founded in 1985, the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which seeks to develop a Maryland citizenry that understands and is engaged in responsible environmental behavior and stewardship by training and supporting Maryland educators.