975 Indian Landing Road
Millersville, MD 21108
tel. 410-222-3822

chesstewardslogoSMIn the spring of 2009, we began to implement the Chesapeake Stewards initiative at Arlington Echo. The purpose is to inform students and parent volunteers about how their actions affect the Chesapeake Bay and to motivate them to take Bay-friendly actions when they return home.

Becoming a Chesapeake Steward is both easy, and rewarding! With education and motivation, any man, woman and child can become a Chesapeake Steward!

Proir to an Arlington Echo trip, during planning with our teachers, we cover the expected outcomes of their outdoor experience. We ask the teachers to explain to their students that we want to improve our efforts to promote environmental literacy. Environmental literacy is explained as knowledge, skills, experiences, attitudes and motivations that lead to environmentally responsible actions. Therefore, we want to challenge the students to become Chesapeake Stewards—people who take action to help the Bay.

CHESAPEAKE_STEWARDS_MAGNETSMDuring their trip, all aspects of the experience are tied to becoming a Chesapeake Steward. All lessons, and meals tie material to everyday life of our students, and provide easy can-do solutions to our environmental issues. At the end of the trip, each student recieves a magnet to take home which gives simple examples of things they can do at home and at school, to set an example for others and to motivate themselves to continue to act as a Chesapeake Steward even when no one is watching.

Some of the easy can-do things students can do, are to plant more trees, catch rainwater (with rain barrels, etc.), reduce fertilizer use, pick up pet waste, compost uneaten food, recycle, reduce energy use, prevent erosion (by planting rain gardens, and slowing down rainwater), and keeping our land and stormdrains free of litter.

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Final WSA Box Anniversary LogoAACPS 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.

Visit the Watershed Stewards Academy website!

A collage of photos of adults walking a tightrope, one adult being lifted over a wall, an adult climbing a stack of tires and a adult being lifted through a web made of ropes. A collage of photos of adults standing in a circle, adults standing in a line, adults sitting on each other's laps, adults holding ropes and adults holding hands. A collage of photos with adults standing in a circle, adults lifting another adult and adults holding hula hoops.

The Initiative and Confidence course at Arlington Echo 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 – OUT22003 Unified Talent

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 – OUT83601 Unified Talent

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

The Water ready with Drownproofing Program is a comprehensive aquatic safety program for fifth grade students in Anne Arundel County Public Schools. Students learn personal water safety skills through classroom and pool instruction. At school, water safety readiness lessons are taught by classroom teachers; these lessons are aligned with the Language Arts curriculum. Students are then transported to one of two pools used for the program. The Arundel Olympic Swim Center in Annapolis is used throughout the school year. The pool at Arlington Echo is used in September, May and June. Each student receives four hours of instruction in the pool by certified aquatic safety instructors. Lessons focus on personal water safety, use of personal flotation devices (PFDs), safe rescues of others, cold water survival techniques, hypothermia and ice safety. Instructors complete a skills evaluation for each student. Classroom teachers recruit parent volunteers to assist with supervision. All volunteers undergo background checks.

 Students laying on the pool deck rescuing partners with a long net.


In preparation for the Water Ready with Drownproofing Program, please follow the guidelines below. Classroom teachers will also share this information with students before the program.

Students are to bring the following equipment to the pool:

  • Bathing suit, two towels and a carrying bag. Students wear their bathing suits under their clothing and bring a pair of underwear for changing. 
  • On the day of the Cold Water Survival lesson, a pair of long pants (jeans or athletic wear) and a long-sleeved button-down shirt (cotton or flannel) will be needed. Sweatshirts do not inflate well during this lesson.
  • A brush or comb and a ponytail holder for students with long hair.
  • Glasses case is recommended for students who wear glasses.
  • Goggles may be worn if they do not cover the nose, but will not be allowed if they interfere with instruction.
  • A T-shirt may be worn over the bathing suit.
  • Neutral scented lotions and hair detangler can be brought, but not shared.

Students are NOT to bring:

  • Money or valuables such as watches or jewelry.
  • Cell phones or electronic devices.
  • Hair dryers, shampoo, soap or hairstyling products such as hair gel or hair spray.
  • Perfume, body spray, or scented lotion.
  • Glass or mirrors.
  • Food, candy or chewing gum.
  • Snorkel masks, nose plugs or aqua shoes.


Volunteers are an integral part of the Water Ready with Drownproofing Program, helping to meet the safety and instructional needs of the students. They serve as Readiness Assistants and sometimes Aquatic Assistants under the supervision of a program instructor.

In preparation for Water Ready with Drownproofing, please follow these guidelines:

  • All Volunteers must have a fingerprint supported background check completed through Anne Arundel County Public Schools a minimum of THREE WEEKS prior to volunteering. Please call 410-222-5045 to make an appointment.
  • Complete Sexual Harassment and Child Abuse Prevention training.
  • Arrive at the pool FIFTEEN MINUTES prior to the students if you are not riding the bus and remain for the last group from your school.
  • Read through the volunteer information for more details on responsibilities.
  • Check Volunteer Board in classroom upon arrival at the pool for your name.
  • Aquatic Assistants bring swim wear and towel. Lockers are available for a fee or items can be stored on volunteer tables in the classroom.
  • Dress for the climate of the pool and locker room areas: Readiness Assistants should be prepared for the warmth of the pool while Aquatic Assistants should be prepared for the chill.
  • Please do not bring younger siblings to the pool.
  • Volunteers may want to bring a water and snack. The students will not be eating at the facility, but volunteers are assisting all 5th grade students and may be on site longer than the students. There will not be time for a lunch break.

Volunteer Responsibilities:

  1. Reinforce pool rules at all times.
  2. Assist in supervising the students while at the facility.
  3. Supervise in the locker rooms from outside the privacy curtain.
  4. Assist instructors with adhering to a fast paced time schedule of getting students ready for instruction and ready to load bus.
  5. Be alert to the needs of students and instructors.
  6. Be at the pool edge monitoring students’ safety.
  7. Be enthusiastic, patient, persuasive and encouraging.
  8. Use positive statements when giving instructions.
  9. Positive verbal reinforcement is crucial! A smile also helps!

Directions to Arundel Olympic Swim Center

Swim Center Directions Map


Water Ready with Drownproofing is an aquatic safety education program. Swimmers and non-swimmers will gain water safety skills according to each individual’s ability. Students should know that they will go into deep water if they choose to be tested. Non-swimmers will be in the shallow area of the pool where they can stand up. Students will complete a handbook and lessons in the classroom in addition to in-pool lessons.

Personal Safety: How do I save myself if I were to get into trouble in the water?

  • Briefly discuss the causes of drowning.
  • Discuss expectations and student responsibilities.
  • Screening will be done based on swimming ability to place students in instructional groups.
  • Skills will be taught based on where the assessment has placed the student: deep water or shallow water.

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs): Your Friend for Life

  • Discuss proper size, shape and types of PFDs.
  • Demonstrate how to put on a PFD on land and in water.
  • Observe a demonstration on the use of the five classes of PFDs.

Non-Swimming Rescues: How do I save someone safely without endangering myself?

  • Discuss and demonstrate the proper steps when evaluating an emergency situation.
  • Perform a non-swimming rescue.

Cold Water Survival: Cold Water Can Kill

  • Briefly discuss hypothermia and cold water survival.
  • Swim with a long pair of pants and long-sleeved shirt.
  • Inflate clothing to make a flotation aid.

 Non-Swimming Rescues: How do I save someone safely without endangering myself?

  • Discuss and demonstrate the proper steps when evaluating an emergency situation.
  • Perform a non-swimming rescue.


Heather McCarthy hhmccarthy@aacps.org 

Amy Grief agrief@aacps.org 

Water Ready with Drownproofing Voicemail 410-222-5855

Arlington Echo 410-222-3822

Text Box:Grasses in Classes Project

In conjunction with Department of
Natural Resources and Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Grasses in Classes Program,
schools grow and propagate redhead underwater grass in the classroom.  Teachers
and students set up experiments, record growth rates and record data. Students
will attend an in-service to learn about the care, propagation, status and
importance of underwater grasses to the Chesapeake Bay.  Underwater grasses
raised will be planted at the soft shoreline restoration project at Arlington

Read More

A collage of photos with a terrapin next to a quarter, students next to a terrapin, a large terrapin next to a small terrapin and a terrapin at the edge of a river.


T.E.R.P. (Terrapin Education and Research Partnership) is a supplemental classroom program. It operates under a Maryland Department of Natural Resources Scientific Collection Permit. Northern Diamondback Terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) are placed in classrooms in October and released in May/June of the following year. Teacher training is required for participation. Students research the natural history of our state reptile, collect weekly growth data, make behavioral observations, and record husbandry protocols. Growth data are also collected during tagging just prior to release on the beaches of Poplar Island in May and June. The terrapins are implanted with a PIT (passive integrated transponder) microchip for identification. Upon recapture in future years, terrapins are scanned for tags and growth data compared to information collected in the classroom.

By raising and releasing these terrapins, students support important terrapin conservation research, conducted by Dr. Willem Roosenburg, Associate Professor of Biology at Ohio University and noted terrapin researcher. Classroom terrapin hatchlings are obtained from Poplar Island Environmental Restoration Site through an agreement with the Maryland Environmental Service, Army Corps of Engineers, and the Maryland Port Administration. Staff at Poplar Island provide assistance and support throughout the project. All terrapins are cared for with the oversight of Dr. Eileen Manyin, D.V.M. of the Greater Annapolis Veterinary Clinic.

Supporters: Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland Port Administration, Maryland Environmental Service, Chesapeake Bay Trust

 Reed & Eddy were released back to Poplar Island on 5/24
Hatched on 9/17/2020 these terrapins are a part of T.E.R.P. (Terrapin Education and Research Partnership) 

Congratulations to the winner of the Arlington Echo terrapin naming contest for ’20-’21
Lily M., 8th grader from Severn River Middle 

Contact Amy Greif at agreif@aacps.org
Arlington Echo 410-222-3822

Text Box:Schoolyard or Community Restoration Project

Restoration projects are conducted on the schoolyard or in the community.  These projects include wildlife habitat restoration, meadows, raingardens or community stormwater management projects with the Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works. 


Teachers and students participate in assessing the schoolyard, design, growing the plants for the project at the greenhouse, writing a grant for funding (usually Chesapeake Bay Trust) and then planting and maintaining the restoration project.  All of the projects are planted with native plants and serve to help mitigate stormwater runoff.

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Chesapeake Connections reaches every 6th grade student through an engaging, real-world restoration program. Learning starts in the classroom when Chesapeake Connections visits the students for a pre-trip lesson aimed at building background knowledge and generating excitement. Students then embark on an environmental stewardship field experience where they explore a local ecosystem and engage in a number of activities. Examples include collecting water quality data, planting native vegetation, evaluating environmental health, and arts integration. Chesapeake Connections combines learning, stewardship, and exploration in a local setting and encourages students to apply their in-classroom learning to real-world environmental problems and their solutions.  

*The Chesapeake Connections Program fulfils the 10 hour service learning requirement for 6th graders.




Restoration Projects

Grasses in Classes

Students grow and propagate redhead underwater grasses in their classroom over several months. Teachers and students set up experiments, record growth rates and record data. Students learn about the care, propagation, status and importance of underwater grasses to the Chesapeake Bay. Underwater grasses raised are planted at the soft shoreline restoration project at Fort Smallwood Park in Pasadena, MD.

A student looking at an underwater grass growing in a tank.


Oyster Restoration

The Oyster Program links middle schools with the Annapolis Maritime Museum. Students explore life in and around the Chesapeake Bay past and present. They identify oyster spat, measure growth and plant the oysters on a local reef.

A collage of photos with students on a boat, a pile of oysters and a student tonging for oysters.

Stormwater Management Planting

In partnership with the Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works (DPW), students participate in regenerative stormwater conveyance projects. Chesapeake Connections staff visit classrooms and initiate an investigation of the issue of stormwater. Students identify storm drains, outfalls, and impervious surfaces through the lens of a stormwater engineer. Students then participate in planting native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees at new stormwater projects to restore habitat, promote nutrient uptake, and stabilize soil.

A collage of photos with students planting trees, planting grasses, holding a small net in a stream and many hands covered in dirt.

(Students Taking Real Environmental Action through Monitoring)

As an integral part of the science curriculum, the Chesapeake Connections team visits students in their classroom for a pre-trip lesson aimed at building background knowledge.  Classroom lessons provide insight into the analysis of stream health, biotic vs. abiotic stream components, aquatic macroinvertebrate anatomy and identification, dichotomous key practice, and a stream sampling simulation.

The outdoor field experience takes students to a nearby stream ecosystem where they take action to conduct chemical, physical, and biological testing to collect data about the stream. In addition to collecting information on dissolved oxygen, pH, nitrates, salinity, temperature, and turbidity, students collect, identify, and categorize living aquatic macroinvertebrates to analyze the health of the stream ecosystem. Students enhance their environmental literacy with site exploration, and an art project.

Monarch Butterflies

Chesapeake Connections also supports the first grade environmental literacy program, “How Can We Help Monarch Butterflies?” They assess the condition of Monarch butterfly gardens at schools and support selected schools annually, installing new gardens as needed and providing planting support for existing gardens.

A collage of photos with a student planting milkweed, a monarch butterfly on a purple flower, and a monarch caterpillar on a leaf.



Eóin Oneill eoneill@aacps.org 

Anna Youngk aeyoungk@aacps.org 

Amanda Miller akmiller@aacps.org   

Arlington Echo 410-222-3822

Every AACPS kindergarten class engages in a one-day field experience as part of their environmental literacy unit “Trees are Terrific.” Through engaging, hands-on activities, students investigate the life cycle of a tree, learn about forest ecology, discover that trees protect water quality and take action to help the environment. Supervision and instruction are provided by AACPS Environmental Literacy and Outdoor Education staff and volunteers recruited by classroom teachers. All volunteers undergo background checks. Students bring lunch to enjoy outdoors, weather permitting.

 A collage of kindergarten students holding tree necklacesA collage of kindergarten students hugging trees, throwing leaves, sitting in a row boat and raising their hands.


Chaperones escort students to their activities, rest rooms, lunch and the flagpole meeting area. Chaperones support activity leaders by encouraging student participation and by helping out as needed. Check the weather and dress appropriately for outdoor activities. Closed-toed shoes are required. Check in at school and get a badge.

Tips for Chaperones

  1. Smile and introduce yourself.
  2. Review expectations with each group: walk, stay together, and follow instructions.
  3. Praise good behavior whenever you see it.
  4. Don’t hesitate to address unsafe or inappropriate student behavior when necessary. You are in charge! Address behavior in a positive and calm way.
  5. Get involved with the students and the activity. Assist the instructor.
  6. Make bathroom stops between activities.
  7. If necessary, take students to the Fernwood Pavilion for first aid.
  8. Students should have adult supervision at all times.
  9. Try to stay on schedule.
  10. Turn cell phone, pager or other electronic devices to “OFF” or “VIBRATE.”
  11. Help students treat the environment and facilities with care.

Activity Leaders

For adults without a teaching background, the idea of leading an activity with a group of students in the outdoors can be somewhat daunting! Relax! It’s not as difficult as you might expect. We will prepare you when you arrive early on the day of the trip. If you have time, review your lesson in advance. Check the weather and dress appropriately for outdoor activities. Closed-toed shoes are required.

  1. Gather students and gain their attention.
  2. Smile, introduce yourself and the lesson according to the lesson plan.
  3. Get students involved! Have them measure, write on charts, etc. Give students jobs to assist with equipment clean-up, etc. (For example, “Who wants to collect the clipboards?”)
  4. Use questions to keep students thinking and to promote discussion (rather than lecture). Encourage all students to participate.
  5. Pace the activity in order to stay on schedule.
  6. When outdoors, speak clearly and at an appropriate volume. If possible, stand with your back to the wind so that it carries your voice to students.
  7. Gather students in a small group (not in a line) to speak to them. Avoid walking and teaching at the same time.
  8. Stand so that the sun is not in students’ eyes. Sunglasses prevent eye contact, so do not wear them while you are speaking to the students.
  9. Use sun or shade to keep students comfortable.
  10. Turn cell phone, pager or other electronic devices to “OFF” or “VIBRATE.”
  11. Help students treat the environment and facilities with care.
  12. Have fun and show enthusiasm. It’s contagious!


Bugs and Slugs

Feathers in the Forest

Forest Friends

Forest Fun

Tree Cycle

Tree Treasure Hunt

What to Bring

Check the weather and dress your child appropriately for outdoor activities. Apply insect repellent and sunscreen as needed before your child leaves home. Students should bring a lunch, trash-free, if possible. Closed-toed shoes are required (that means no flip-flops or Crocs!).

Directions to Downs Park

Downs Park: 8311 John Downs Loop, Pasadena, MD 21122

From Points South

  1. Take MD-2 North
  2. Turn right onto Baltimore Annapolis Blvd.
  3. Turn right on Magothy Bridge Rd.
  4. Take slight right onto MD-100 East
  5. Continue straight onto MD-177 E/Mountain Rd.
  6. Continue straight onto Pinehurst Rd. 
  7. Turn right onto Chesapeake Bay Dr.

From Points West

  1. Take MD-100 East
  2. Continue straight onto MD-177 E/Mountain Rd.
  3. Continue straight onto Pinehurst Rd. 
  4. Turn right onto Chesapeake Bay Dr.

From Points North

  1. Take 97 or 10 south to MD-100 East
  2. Continue straight onto MD-177 E/Mountain Rd.
  3. Continue straight onto Pinehurst Rd. 
  4. Turn right onto Chesapeake Bay Dr.

At Main Gate

  1. Present activity badge at gate.
  2. Continue on Chesapeake Bay Drive to Fernwood Pavilion parking lot (fourth/last parking area on the right)
  3. Park and walk to Fernwood Pavilion.

Call Sean (410-422-7434) for help.


Sheen Goldberg swgoldberg@aacps.org

Sean McGuinn smcguinn@aacps.org

Arlington Echo 410-222-3822