Monday, June 29, 2009

Thoreau's Legacy: American Stories about Global Warming

Thoreau's Legacy: American Stories about Global Warming is the new anthology from the Union of Concerned Scientists and Penguin Classics which brings together established writers and fresh voices, including Bronwyn Mitchell, current Executive Director for the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE), to inspire us with personal stories and reflections on global warming.

Following in a uniquely American tradition of environmental writing begun by Henry David Thoreau and continued by great writers from Rachel Carson to E. O. Wilson, Thoreau's Legacy enhances our appreciation of the world around us and galvanizes support to preserve it for future generations. The 67 pieces of writing and art in the anthology are drawn from nearly 1,000 submissions about beloved places, animals, plants, people, and activities at risk from a changing climate and the efforts that individuals are making to save what they love.

A foreword on global warming by the well-known author Barbara Kingsolver helps to set the context, and is a powerful call to action.

Launch the interactive book to read the anthology now, or explore the site to learn about the forthcoming hardcover and e-book versions and what you can do to help address climate change.

The selected essays represent a variety of perspectives, voices, and experiences. The authors follow in the long tradition of great American environmental writers, like Henry David Thoreau, who have broadened our awareness and sharpened our perspective about the world we share. And they are inspiring action to protect our planet from global warming. They are Thoreau's legacy.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Green Schools On the Air!

Jeanne Armacost is discussing MAEOE's Maryland Green Schools Program on Friday at 2:00 p.m. on WNAV - AM 1430, on the "1430 Connection," the local news magazine in Annapolis. The interview will be re-broadcast on Saturday morning, 7:00 a.m., and during the following week online at

Yvette Paradis hosts the in-depth interview program designed to present a broader scope on local issues. Yvette and Jeanne will welcome your phone calls at 410-267-7777.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Smithsonian Folklife Festival & Welsh Sustainability

June 24-28; July 1-5
National Mall, Washington, D.C.
Open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with special evening events.
All events are free.

The 43rd annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival is linking traditional culture with sustainable practices in the country of Wales. Wales is leading the way in becoming environmentally sustainable on a national level. Many participants in this year’s Festival specialize in sustainability and will provide valuable insights and experiences to take back to the classroom.

Special Programs:

Convergence on Zero Conference
National Museum of Natural History, Baird Auditorium, June 25-26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and the Centre for Alternative Technology. Features speakers from Wales and the U.S. on the transition to zero carbon emissions. Registration for this free conference is online at

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Wales
CAT demonstrates practical solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems and offer a free information service on all things green, including wind energy, solar panels, green roofs, building with straw bales, and other sustainable solutions. Festival participants from CAT include Blanche Cameron, a green building designer; Matthew Slack, an energy consultant who lives in a house heated by solar power; and Adam Thorogood, a contributor to ”Zero Carbon Britain.”

Ty Unnos House
A sustainable house that is made from locally-sourced timber. The timber is prefabricated into walls, doors, and windows, all in a range of sizes, which are then used to build affordable and sustainable housing.

Ty Mawr House
Built by Ty-Mawr Lime Ltd., this green house features plasters and mortars made from recycled glass, insulation made from sheep’s wool, and environmentally-friendly floors.

TYF Adventure
The first carbon-neutral adventure company in the world.

In addition, join in family-friendly activities using recycled materials in the Family Activity Area, and enjoy listening to Welsh music about climate change and our world’s condition performed by Gai Toms.

For more information please visit the Wales Smithsonian Cymru Web sites at: and

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tracking PolarTREC

Tom Harten, a teacher with the CHESPAX environmental education program of the Calvert County Public Schools in Maryland, will be traveling to the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, July 15-18, as a part of the PolarTREC program, a project that partners teachers with scientists conducting polar research in both the arctic and in Antarctica. Mr. Harten will be a participant in a project that will investigate the impact of climate change on seabirds nesting on these remote islands in the Bering Sea. The project is funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation. Mr. Harten will be posting journal entries from the field as video and audio podcasts and answering questions from interested students and teachers. To follow the expedition visit:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

REI's Passport to Adventure

REI, long one of MAEOE's staunchest supporters, has introduced a free new program called Passport to Adventure, which is designed for children ages five to 12, with the goal of encouraging them to participate in at least one outdoor activity through the end of the year. To get started, families and caregivers can stop by any REI store to pick up a complimentary adventure journal, plus hike and bike trails in their local area.

After participating in at least one outdoor activity, participants can complete the program online or through the mail to receive a certificate of completion and a special prize for their children – multifunction binoculars that turn into other tools, such as a compass, signal mirror, magnifying glass and more.

Click here for more information on the free Passport to Adventure program.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bumble Bee Nest Site Survey

Bumble bees are important pollinators of agricultural crops and wild plants, but we know little about their natural history in North America. Anecdotal evidence and preliminary research suggest that bumble bee species are declining throughout the continent but much more research is needed. You can help! By filling out this short survey when you find a bumble bee nest, you’ll be contributing to important research on bumble bees. Every detail brings us closer to understanding and conserving these important pollinators!

The goal for this survey is to compile nest site and habitat features for bumble bees throughout North America and make this information available to anyone at no cost. Survey results and a narrative report will be available for viewing after each survey season is over (usually in November/December).

Click here to access the Bumble Bee Nesting Site Survey. The convenient online survey provides complete instructions.

Thanks again for your support of bumble bee research!

Job Opening: Chesapeake Program Organizer

Location: Washington, DC

Clean Water Action/Clean Water Fund seeks an organizer for watershed restoration activities in the Anacostia watershed in Washington, DC and Maryland. Clean Water Action is a national citizens' organization working for clean, safe and affordable water, prevention of health-threatening pollution, creation of environmentally-safe jobs and businesses, and empowerment of people to make democracy work. Clean Water Fund organizes strong grassroots groups, coalitions and campaigns to protect our environment, health, economic well-being and community quality of life.

Primary duties include:

  • Provide organizing support to communities in Anacostia watershed, helping them develop and implement plans to address water quality problems;
  • Recruit and train volunteers to assist with Anacostia watershed restoration activities;
  • Participate in other issue campaigns in Maryland and the Chesapeake region as assigned by supervisor;
  • Represent the organization in meetings and other events with allies and others;
  • Research, write, design, produce and distribute flyers, fact sheets, reports and other written products;
  • Assist with fundraising, administration, financial management;
  • Manage lists, files and databases needed for work assignments;
  • Perform other duties as directed by supervisors
For complete details about this position, click here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Maryland Pollinator Week - June 22-28

Maryland Governor O'Malley will issue a proclamation declaring June 22-28, 2009 Maryland Pollinator Week, corresponding to National Pollinator Week. The week is an opportunity for all to learn more about pollinators, appreciate their contribution to our lives, and engage in activities to protect pollinators and educate others about them.

Plants must be pollinated in order to set seed or bear fruit. With no pollination at all, many of the foods we eat would no longer be available. Many flying creatures, such as bees, butterflies, birds, and bats are pollinators: their actions move the pollen grains from flower to flower. It is estimated that 1/3 of the food we eat can be traced to animal pollinated plants.

A National Academy of Sciences study found a decline in pollinators generally. This is alarming not only because our food depends on them, but also because they are critical to some ecosystems and because their condition is an indicator of ecosystem health.

Honeybees are valuable for their honey, and even more valuable for the pollination services that beekeepers can provide. The success of many crops depends on honeybee pollination, but pests and diseases have made it harder and harder to maintain healthy managed colonies. Recently, Colony Collapse Disorder, CCD, whose cause is still unknown, has devastated the hives of many commercial beekeepers. The United States no longer maintains enough colonies to pollinate its crops and must import bees each year from other countries. A recent Canadian study found that although the total number of bees worldwide is increasing, the demands of intensive agriculture have been growing even more quickly, creating shortages.

In Maryland, about 1700 beekeepers, most with just a few colonies, pollinate our pumpkins, orchards, melons, and squash. CCD is not a problem yet, perhaps because Maryland is nearly self sufficient in bees and relatively few of Maryland's hives travel out of state. The Maryland State Beekeepers Association, in its 101st year, and local independent beekeepers associations teach people how to be successful beekeepers. To find your local Maryland beekeepers association go to

National Pollinator Week is an initiative of the North American Pollinator Partnership (NAPPC). For more information see