Last month, Mt. View Middle School became one of seven newly certified Maryland Green Schools in the county, bringing the total to 42 public and private Howard County Green Schools. The other newly certified schools include Clemens Crossing Elementary, Gorman Crossing Elementary, Howard High, Pointer's Run Elementary, St. John's Lane Elementary and Waverly Elementary. Additionally, Dunloggin Middle School and Reservoir High School successfully completed their recertification.
Since 1999, the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education has awarded Green School status to statewide schools that pass a rigorous application process demonstrating their commitment to environmental curriculum and sustainability. The schools must then recertify every four years to maintain their status.
At Mt. View, "Green Teams" composed of parents, staff, and students have led recent environmental efforts, but all of the initiatives have been designed and implemented by students. Some of their projects include a new outdoor classroom, a native plant garden, a salad garden for use in the Family and Consumer Science classroom, a butterfly garden with a waterfall feature to attract birds, improved recycling, reduced electricity usage, and reduced paper usage. Teachers have also incorporated environmental lessons in the classrooms.
For more information, go to the student-designed website, "Mt. View Goes Green," at mvgg.weebly.com.
MVMS students enjoyed wrapping up their efforts at a Green Field Day May 25, where they performed tasks such as planting and mulching and also played environmentally-themed games such as "sort the recycling." Five eighth-graders – Katie Berdy, Julia Fedor, Alex Hinkle, Caroline Moore and Katie Wardle – organized the day, and two seventh graders – Carly Caplan and Erika Wolfe – planned the games.
All of the newly certified schools received their awards at Sandy Point State Park June 3. Congratulations, Mt. View community, on your Green School certification!
As an aside, the MVMS Green Teams can always use more parent volunteers, especially those with gardening experience or project management skills such as advertising or web design. If you can help guide the students in their environmental efforts, call Susan Mako at 410-313-5545 or email her at Susan_Mako@hcpss.org.
Speaking of Green Schools, one way in which the Howard County Conservancy fulfills its environmental education mission is through its role as a Maryland Green Center, where schools can obtain assistance in the certification process. Of course, the Conservancy also educates the general public through a variety of special programs, such as free monthly Wonder Walks.
This month's walk, titled "Photograph Nature: A Family Effort," is Saturday, June 10 at 10 a.m., rain or shine. Professional photographer Natalie Brewer, of Weeds and Wildlife Photography, will help participants find good subject matter and determine the best camera angle and focus. Bring your digital camera and prepare to capture beautiful photographs of landscapes, plants and animals! The Conservancy address is 10520 Old Frederick Road (Route 99), in Woodstock.
The Conservancy also invites you to "Take Your Children Fishing at Lost Lake, Patapsco River," June 18 at 10 a.m. What a great activity for Father's Day weekend!
Children of all ability levels ages 6-15 may participate, and they will first learn fishing regulations, ethics and safety rules from Martha Shaum, of the Department of Natural Resources, and Woody Merkle, of the Conservancy.
Since Lost Lake is a restricted fishing area, adults ages 16-64 may help the children, but may not fish themselves. The program costs $5 per child for bait and the use of rod and reel and requires registration no later than June 16. Call 410-465-8877 or go to http://www.hcconservancy.org to register online.
The University of Maryland Extension has announced that it is accepting nominations to fill the expired term of the current Howard Soil Conservation District Supervisor. The new appointment will run through July 10, 2016.
The supervisor must be a resident of the district (county), must be able to attend the monthly meetings of the board of supervisors, and must possess a knowledge of and interest in proper land use and the conservation of soil, water and related natural resources.
Any interested individual or organization may complete a nomination form and mail it to State Soil Conservation Committee, Department of Agriculture, 50 Harry S. Truman Pkwy., Room 306, Annapolis, MD 21401.
Nomination forms are available at the office of Christine Lothen-Kline, Area Extension Director, University of Maryland Extension - Howard County, 3300 North Ridge Road, Suite 240, Ellicott City, MD 21043 and at the Soil Conservation District Office, 708 Lisbon Center Drive, Suite E, Woodbine, MD 21797. The forms are also online at http://www.mda.state.md.us. Select "Conservation" from the top menu and then "Committees" from the left-hand menu. The deadline for all nominations Friday, June 10.