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

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 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. Students are transported to one of two pools used for the water portion of the program. The Anne Arundel County Recreation & Park’s Arundel Olympic Swim Center in Annapolis is used throughout the school year. The pool at Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center is only used for a few schools. Water Safety instruction is taught in 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. Volunteers are needed to supervise students at the pool and assist instructors.

The Water Ready curriculum aligns and supports the 5th grade Language Arts and Physical Education standards. The preparation, action, and reflection that is embedded into the Water Ready program satisfies 5 of the 75 hours of service learning required for graduation.

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


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

Students are to wear/bring the following equipment to the pool:

  • Students wear their bathing suits under their school clothes
  • Pack underwear for changing into after the aquatic’s lesson.
  • Pack 2 towels
  • Pack extra set long sleeve shirt and long pants to get wet

Suggestions to make things run smoothly:

  • School clothes should be easy for students to put on when changing after swim time. These clothes should be worn over their swim wear and will be put into a locker to stay dry during instruction.  These clothes will be dry for changing into when the students travel back to school.
  • For a simulated Cold-Water Survival lesson, students will bring an extra set of winter clothes to put on over their swim wear. (Long sleeve shirt and long pants) These should not be too tight as the students will be wet when putting them on.
  • 2 towels- 1 for the pool deck gets very wet; 1 for the locker room to dry off at the end.
  • 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 or shorts may be worn over the swimsuit or swim trunks for swimming but should not be baggy or get in the way while swimming.
  • Neutral scented lotions and hair de-tangler 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.
  • Students will not be showering.
  • Perfume, body spray, or scented lotion.
  • Glass or mirrors.
  • Snorkel masks, nose plugs or aqua shoes.


Volunteers are an integral part of the Water Ready 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.  Volunteers do not need to get into the water.

In preparation for Water Ready, please follow these guidelines:

  • All Volunteers must have a fingerprint supported background check completed through Anne Arundel County Public Schools prior to volunteering.
  • Please call 410-222-5045 to make an appointment. Recommended to complete THREE WEEKS prior to the trip date.
  • Complete Sexual Harassment and Child Abuse Prevention training.
  • Arrive at the pool THIRTY MINUTES prior to the students and remain for the last group from your school.
  • Attend a volunteer orientation at the pool before students arrive.
  • 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.
  • Younger siblings are not permitted to attend.
  • Volunteers may want to bring a water and snack. The students will be eating after their aquatic’s instruction ends and they have changed into their dry clothes.  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!

Instructional Program

Water Ready is an aquatic safety education program. Swimmers and non-swimmers will gain water safety skills according to each individual’s ability. Students have an option to take a deep water test if that is something they have done before. Students that are more comfortable being where they can touch the bottom of the pool, 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 Voicemail 410-222-5855

Arlington Echo 410-222-3822

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

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. 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 restoration project varies for each school and may involve participation in a stormwater restoration planting, oyster restoration, reforestation project, or climate data collection study.

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

Partners of Chesapeake Connections


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