Monday, June 25, 2012

2012 Maryland Green Schools - Impressive Environmental Action

This was an great year for Maryland Green Schools with more than 4,600 teachers and 63,000 students participating in the Green Schools program. 101 schools were either certified or recertified bringing the Green School total to 454, or 20% of Maryland’s schools. This year’s schools planted 3,467 trees,over 7,900 shrubs; and planted nearly 55,000 square feet of gardens – installing 21 rain and 57 pollinator gardens. On average, schools saved 24% on energy costs with conservation measures. Examples of actions in water conservation and pollution prevention included water quality testing, establishing “No Mow Zones,” installing rain gardens, stenciling storm drains, maintaining school wetlands and ponds and performing stream cleans. For energy conservation, schools conducted energy audits, used student patrols, had “lights out lunches,” influenced ac/heat policy changes, planted trees for shade, made public service announcements and held energy fairs. For Habitat Restoration, schools did many things: installing bluebird boxes and trails, making bat, butterfly and wood duck boxes and osprey nest platforms, participating in oyster shell recovery projects, building and installing oyster reef balls and road cleanups through Adopt a Road. Schools also raised shad, sturgeon, bay grasses, rockfish, eels, trout, horseshoe crabs and terrapins. Students designed and installed butterfly gardens, vernal pools, riparian buffers, planted grasses, raised bed gardens and removed invasive plants. These collective efforts have a true environmental impact for Maryland. Mapping and study of the environmental impact is underway with building school's data into National Geographic's FieldScope - a GIS Mapping tool. Visit the FieldScope site at: Congratulations to all, and keep up the great work.

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