Our Mission

“To empower students of all ages through authentic hands-on outdoor experiences with the environmental knowledge, skills, and motivation to make and act upon responsible environmental decisions.”

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AACPS and the Anne Arundel Department of Public Works (AADPW) collaborated to create the AA County Watershed Stewards Academy (WSA), a unique community outreach and environmental action program. Watershed Stewards Academy builds capacity in Anne Arundel County by training Master Watershed Stewards to help neighbors reduce pollution in our local creeks and rivers. The certification course gives Stewards the tools to implement change in their communities, turning knowledge into action. Stewards work with their communities to install projects such as rain gardens or conservation landscapes and to reduce pollution at its source. Collectively, these small community-based actions are improving the health of the larger Chesapeake Bay watershed. Since 2009, WSA has certified over 160 Master Watershed Stewards from Brooklyn Park to Herring Bay. Each year, these Stewards collaborate with neighbors, businesses, schools and each other to install hundreds of projects that reduce pollution in our rivers and streams.

Watershed Stewards Academy

Throughout Arlington Echo we have Rain Barrels attached to the downspout of every building—adding up to 96 Barrels throughout campus. Rain Barrels gather the water that falls on the roofs and slow it down. The water from a 30 minute storm is released over 2 days. 

Did You Know?

  • 60 % of lawn fertilizers are washed away by surface water
  • 30% of nutrient & sediment overloading in the Chesapeake Bay can be attributed to non-point pollution and human land use
  • Anne Arundel County has the fourth worst air quality in the U.S., most of this pollution ends up in our runoff

So what does this have to do with rain barrels?  Some people might think that rain barrels are only used for water conservation during drought periods, when in fact they are just as useful during rainy periods. 

 Lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40% of total household water use during the summer.  For every 1000 square feet of roofline, one inch of rain equates to 632+ gallons of water.  This is a large amount of free “soft water” that can be stored and used later to wash cars and windows, water plants, fill ponds, or feed a rain garden during periods of drought. 

 The water that falls carries pollutants that are usually directed into groundwater or allowed to flow directly into waterways around the Bay. Water that runs off the land can be loaded with nutrients, bacteria, heavy metals, and toxic chemicals.   By placing a barrel at every downspout, rainwater can be collected from the roof and redistributed into a filtration area such as a rain garden or a bog that filters nitrates, phosphates, and other pollutants.  The barrels collect the first flush, the most critical rain that is loaded with pollutants, and then slowly releases the water to a garden or shallow dry well area. By diverting water from storm drains, the impact of runoff into streams and the Chesapeake Bay is greatly decreased. 

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The Initiative and Confidence course at Arlington Echo Out is designed for students and adults to build communication and cooperation skills. Through a series of field games and low elements, participants work as a team to solve problems and overcome challenges. These team building activities help participants become more self-confident as individuals and more collaborative as members of a team. Completing these activities is also a great way for participants to build trust. This course works well with students at the beginning of the school year, faculty groups, clubs and sports teams. All groups must be led by a certified instructor. Certification requires a two-day, 16-hour workshop, which is offered at Arlington Echo three times a year.


Initiative and Confidence Certification

This two-day, 16-hour workshop provides the certification required to use the Initiative and Confidence Course at the Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center. AACPS personnel sign up on ERO. Non-AACPS personnel contact the Environmental Literacy and Outdoor Education Office 410-222-3822.


Initiative and Confidence Recertification

Recertification is required every two years. AACPS personnel sign up on ERO for this half day workshop. Non-AACPS personnel contact the Environmental Literacy and Outdoor Education Office 410-222-3822.


Contact Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center 410-222-3822

Through the AACPS Environmental Literacy and Outdoor Education programs, students participate in authentic, interdisciplinary, hands-on, environmental and outdoor learning. Our programs enhance, extend and enrich classroom curriculum. Students connect with their local environment, investigate the impact of their actions on our planet, and learn to make and act upon responsible environmental decisions. Students also prepare for college, career and civic life while they build environmental literacy. Our programs also reach teachers and community members.

Arlington Echo Grade 4

Camp Woodlands Kindergarten

Drownproofing Grade 5

Chesapeake Connections Grade 6

Native Growers

Initiative & Confidence Course

Terrapin Connection


High School Internships

Watershed Stewards Academy

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