On April 21st, 2018 we held an open house celebrating 50 years of outdoor education in AACPS! Thank you to everyone who came out in support, as well as all our donors, partners, and vendors who helped make the event possible! #50yearsofgreen Here's to another 50!

 50th flyer for web

 Special thanks to our donors 21st Centruy Foundation, Towne Transport, Annapolis Bus Company, Jubbs Bus, Herald Harbour EMT, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, ClearShark H2O, Milano's Pizza, and The Stone Store...

Towne Transport        Towne Transport    Towne Transport  The Stone Store Logo


Our Partners Chesapeake Bay Foundation, PX3, Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, Maryland Environmental Service, Anne Arundel County Soil Conservation District, Anne Arundel Weed Resistance, Annapolis Maritime Museum, Anne Arundel County Watershed Protection and Restoration Program, AACPS Science Office, Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education, Langton Green Community Farm, Anne Arundel Watershed Stewards Academy, Severn River Association, Anne Arundel County Food & Nutrition Services, Anne Arundel County Bee Keepers Association, ClearShark H2O...


Our Food Vendors Pablo's Toc O's, Chesapeake Bay Roasting Co., Bistro Lunch Box...

Toc os Black.logo    CBRC FTO Color on Black      BistroLunchBox TshirtArt


& Our Entertainment Joe Thompson, Kathryn Para, and Billy Heinbuch


Thursday, 23 February 2017 15:32

High School Internships

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High school students can take advantage of internship opportunities through the Environmental Literacy and Outdoor Education program.

Education interns work with the Trees are Terrific kindergarten program or the Arlington Echo fourth grade program, teaching students through outdoor experiential learning.

Research interns undertake research projects at Arlington Echo. Current topics include SAV research, phytoplankton monitoring, establishing a database for water quality measurements, and mapping rare and threatened native plants. Interns develop authentic research questions and collect data to test a hypothesis based on their question.

Environmental horticulture interns assist Arlington Echo staff with environmental horticultural processes such as removing invasive species from natural areas, designing and maintaining native garden habitats for butterflies, humming birds and other organisms, worm and kitchen composting, natural fertilization, mulching, pruning, growing submerged aquatic vegetation, caring for Atlantic White Cedars and maintaining the cold frame.

Chesapeake Connections interns support classroom outreach and field projects that lead to environmental stewardship. Topics include aquatic grasses, terrapins, storm water restoration projects, and monarch butterfly gardens. Interns assist with all aspects of the project, including classroom outreach, maintenance of plants and animals used in the projects, and the end of year projects that involve plantings and the release of terrapins.

Contact Arlington Echo 410-222-3822

Thursday, 23 February 2017 15:26


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The Envirothon is a statewide competition for high school students. Students study topics such as aquatics, forestry, soils and wildlife and participate annually in an outdoor competition. Envirothon teams are made up of five students who work together to study Maryland’s natural resources over the course of the school year. All topics are hands-on and include practical skills. Training is conducted by experts in each field. Students train in the fall and spring with resource professionals in four content areas and one topic that changes annually. County competitions typically occur in April, and the county winners compete at the state level in June. The Arlington Echo site is used for training and competitions. Our staff also provide instructional support to teachers and students.

Contact Arlington Echo 410-222-3822

Thursday, 23 February 2017 15:17

Native Growers

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The Native Growers program is a partnership with the Office of Special Education. High school Alternate Curriculum Class (ACC) students develop horticulture skills while learning about the importance of native plants and their relationships to native animals. Students grow milkweed to support Monarch caterpillars, nectar plants to support pollinators, submerged aquatic vegetation (SAVs) to plant in rivers to protect the shoreline and provide habitat for marine species, and trees to be planted in restoration projects. Students propagate plants by seed, root division, and cuttings. Students learn how to water, identify and treat plant pests using integrated pest management (IPM), transplant plants and compost. The plants produced by this program support our Chesapeake Connections restoration projects throughout the county.

Contact Sheen Goldberg swgoldberg@aacps.org

Arlington Echo 410-222-3822

Thursday, 23 February 2017 14:57

Arlington Echo Grade 4

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Every AACPS fourth grade class visits Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center in Millersville, MD, for a one-day or overnight field experience as part of their environmental literacy learning. Arlington Echo programs are linked to the science curriculum throughout the school year. Through exciting, hands-on activities, students investigate the human impact on climate, land, water and living things in the Chesapeake Bay in its watershed. They are challenged to put environmental ideals into action.

Students travel to different learning stations on site, gathering information to develop an educated and environmentally responsible answer to an overarching question: How can we help the Chesapeake Bay? Activities include marsh exploration, canoeing, seining, stormwater investigation and more.

Supervision and instruction are provided by Arlington Echo staff and volunteers recruited by classroom teachers. All volunteers undergo background checks.

Meals are provided in the dining hall. We challenge students to be “Waste Watchers,” who minimize their food waste by following the philosophy "Take what you like; Eat what you take" and by participating in our on-site composting program. Students aim for a "Zero Waste" meal.

Climate controlled cabins with bunk beds and bathroom facilities provide overnight accommodations. Arlington Echo is a 24-acre outdoor education site owned by AACPS. It includes forest, stream and wetland habitats and is located on the Severn River.

 AE4th webAE4th web2

Thursday, 23 February 2017 14:53

School-Based Curricula

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In 2010, Maryland became the first state in the nation to implement an environmental literacy high school graduation requirement. In 2011, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) instituted Pre-K through 12 Environmental Literacy Curriculum Standards to be integrated into the curriculum of each school system.

These actions gave a new name and new mandate to the AACPS Outdoor Education Office, which became the AACPS Environmental Literacy and Outdoor Education Office.

It is now our responsibility to take environmental literacy into schools and classrooms by providing curriculum and training to teachers.

Each grade level or course listed below includes an interdisciplinary environmental literacy unit or focus in which students investigate and take action on a local environmental issue. We continue to strive to get every student outdoors every year!


Thursday, 23 February 2017 14:18

Teacher Resources

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This section is aimed at providing our teachers with information and resources to enhance their activities and lessons associated with environmental and outdoor education both in and out of the classroom.

MSDE Environmental Education - MDE’s education programs provide resources for classroom teachers, outdoor educators, club leaders, and others to teach students of all ages about our environment.

Bay Backpack - Learn some creative ways to integrate the Chesapeake Bay and environmental issues into your classroom lessons. Search through the Bay Backpack's books, multimedia, curriculum guides, individual lesson plans and online data sources about the subjects you are teaching in class.

MAEOE's How To: Native Plants  - Guide on choosing and finding native MD plants for your schoolyard habitat.

MAEOE MD Green Schools  - How to become a Maryland Green School.

Project WET Curriculum Alignments (Elementary) - Once certified in Project WET, consult this guide to incorporate the environmental lessons without needing to extend beyond the existing curriculum.  To learn more about Project WET, visit www.projectwet.org.

Anne Arundel County Parks and Trails - Use this site to locate a listing of regional and community parks, trails and natural areas.

Anne Arundel County GIS Data Download - Site where a series of data layers collected from various departments throughout the county are available for download. These layers are posted for free and updated per the date listed as new information becomes available.

Aquatic Invasive Species Education Project - Aquatic Invasive Species Education trunk available on loan to Maryland educators! 

Maryland State Data Center (Department of Planning) - The MD Department of Planning has completed a set of projections for total and household population, households and household size, labor force, jobs by place of work, total and per capita personal income thru 2040.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources - Population statistics, teacher lessons and resources. This package of resources and lesson plans was developed to support social studies and science teachers in integrating these topics within the regular curriculum. Government, policy and planning, economics, geography, and a myriad of environmental issues are encompassed with the Sustainability and Smart Growth concept, and provides a rich source of topics for classroom investigations.

Maryland Biodiversity Project - Maryland Biodiversity Project is cataloging all the living things of Maryland. The goal is to promote eduication and conservation by helping to build a vibrant Maryland nature study community.

Maryland Sea Grant: Biofilms and Biodiversity - Biofilms are a hot topic in microbiology today. Scientists are studying the ways bacterial colonies form slimy layers, which can be resistant to antibiotics and the immune system, in hopes that new information will help us understand how the layers form, adhere to surfaces, and how they can be prevented.

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center - SERC's education department is committed to instilling environmental literacy by broadening society's understanding of the natural world using SERC's research findings as a foundational resource for public programs and STEM challenges that convey how human activities alter atmospheric, terrestrial, and aquatic ecosystems ona  regional and global scale.

USDA National Invasive Species Information Center - Gateway to invasice species information; covering federal, state, local and international sources.

USDA links of impacts of invasive species

Field Trip Opportunities:

Jug Bay Wetlands Sactuary

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Field Programs

Living Classrooms Foundation

Environmental Education State and National News:

Children in Nature  - MD Department of Natural Resources partnership

No Child Left Inside - Coalition dedicated to provide funding to train teachers to deliver high quality Environmental Education and utilize the local environment as an extension of the classroom.


AACPS Teacher Professional Development: Sign up for workshops to build your knowledge and skills in environmental and outdoor education.

AACPS ERO Master Calendar Sign-In

Thursday, 23 February 2017 14:15

Water Quality Data

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Water Quality Monitoring at Arlington Echo

During the fourth grade Arlington Echo outdoor education experience, students engage in lessons and activities at our campus on the Indian Creek, which is a small tributary of the Severn River. These activities include seining to look for fish and other organisms in Indian Creek, using plankton tows and microscopes to identify microorganisms living in the water, and taking water quality measurements to determine the health of Indian Creek.

In the fall of 2016 we began recording our water quality measurements to monitor the health of the Indian Creek and track changes over time. The map below shows our monitoring site location, and the graphs display our current data, collected in Spring 2018. Older data can be found in our archived data section.

Water quality measurements taken include:

  • Temperature – how warm or cold the water is; measured in degrees Fahrenheit using a floating thermometer. Though the water temperature naturally fluctuates throughout the season, animals depend on relatively consistent water temperatures during certain times of the year. In Indian Creek, the average water temperature ranges from about 38 degrees Fahrenheit in mid-January up to about 85 degrees in mid-July. Temperature shares a direct relationship with dissolved oxygen levels in the water, because colder water holds more oxygen than does warmer water. Additionally, stormwater runoff from paved surfaces like sidewalks and roads enters the waterways at a higher temperature than runoff that soaks in through pervious surfaces, increasing the overall water temperature.
  • Salinity – the amount of salt dissolved in the water; measured in parts per thousand (ppt) using a handheld salinity meter. Different plants and organisms require certain salinity levels for survival and reproduction, and generally cannot survive through drastic fluctuations in salinity. Salinity can be affected by runoff, particularly in the winter when roads are salted and that salt gets washed into nearby rivers and streams. Rainfall also affects salinity; precipitation events add more fresh water to waterways, leading to a lower salinity, while the dry season can lead to more evaporation and thus a higher salinity. Ocean water has a salinity of about 35 ppt, while the Chesapeake Bay averages a salinity around 15 ppt. Inland freshwater rivers and streams have a salinity close to 0 ppt. The Indian Creek is brackish, meaning that it is a mixture of fresh and saltwater, and generally has a salinity range of about 3 – 10 ppt, depending on the season.
  • Turbidity – the amount of suspended sediment in the water; measured in centimeters of water depth using a turbidity tube. Ideal conditions for animals and plants in the water occur when turbidity is low and clarity is high. Low turbidity allows animals to more easily see through the water and use their gills to absorb oxygen, and allows for plants to receive sunlight, which they need to survive and provide oxygen and habitat for other living things. Turbidity increases after heavy rainstorms when runoff washes eroded soil into waterways. High turbidity can also result from excess bacteria or algae in the water.
  • Dissolved Oxygen – the amount of available oxygen dissolved in the water; measured in parts per million (ppm) using dissolved oxygen tablets. Oxygen is vital for life to survive in the water. Most species that live in Indian Creek are able to survive and reproduce successfully when dissolved oxygen levels are at or above 5ppm, though some species are more tolerant to low oxygen levels than others. Dissolved oxygen levels can be affected by water temperature, because colder water holds more oxygen than warmer water, and by the presence of plant life in the water, because plants emit oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis. In addition, algal blooms caused by runoff of excess nutrients from fertilizer, animal waste, or septic systems can result in a loss of oxygen, known as a “dead zone,” as algae blocks underwater plants from getting sunlight for photosynthesis and as bacteria use up all available oxygen in the water when decomposing the algae.

Temperature Spring 2018

 Salinity Spring 2018

 Turbidity Spring 2018


Monitoring Site Location:

Water Quality Monitoring Site Location

Archived Water Quality Data:


All data and content on this website are property of Anne Arundel County Public Schools. Please credit Anne Arundel County Public Schools and Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center when citing or using data and content for any purpose.

All data are offered for educational purposes only. Data presented are provisional, subject to later correction, and have not undergone full quality control procedures. Missing data may result from equipment malfunctions or the rejection of 'bad' data during review.

Data are gathered by students with the help of adult volunteers, teachers, and Arlington Echo staff. In some circumstances, including extreme weather, students do not go out to test water quality. This may result in some inconsistencies in the reporting and/or content of the data.


Thursday, 23 February 2017 14:10

Green Schools

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Become a Maryland Green School!

The Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education (MAEOE) offers the Maryland Green School Awards Program to all Maryland public and private schools, as well as environmental centers serving Maryland schools. Schools that achieve Green School certification have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to environmental education, environmental action and community outreach.

MAEOE Green Schools & Green Centers

Current AACPS Green Schools List


What are the benefits of becoming a Green School?

  • According to studies, students whose learning is connected to their environment do better in school.
  • Working with the environment is a great way to integrate all academic disciplines.
  • Achieving Green School status makes your school and community proud! Get the Green School flag to fly over your school!
  • The process is engaging and fun for everyone!

Contact Amy Greif agreif@aacps.org


Thursday, 23 February 2017 13:33

Who We Are

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The Environmental Literacy and Outdoor Education Office of Anne Arundel County Public Schools provides interdisciplinary outdoor education for AACPS students and teachers. We integrate environmental literacy and outdoor learning into the AACPS school-based curricula at all grade levels for all students. We are part of the division of Curriculum and Instruction of Anne Arundel County Public Schools. For over 50 years we have provided interdisciplinary environmental and outdoor education. Through outreach and our site-based programs, we provide face-to-face instruction to more than 25,000 students and 8,000 adults each school year. In addition, our school-based curricula reach students at all grade levels every year.

Our goals are to:

  1. Develop and implement a prekindergarten through high school environmental literacy curriculum and programming that align the MSDE Environmental Literacy standards with up-to-date standards in other core content areas.
  2. Empower teachers to use the environment and outdoors as a context for learning.
  3. Support the AACPS Strategic Plan of Community Involvement and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement by serving as a community resource for educating and building stewardship among the citizens of Anne Arundel County.

Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center is the headquarters of the Environmental Literacy and Outdoor Education Office. AACPS purchased Arlington Echo in 1971 from the Arlington Presbyterian Church of Baltimore. The 24-acre youth camp was named Arlington Echo because a call from the bluff would echo back from across the Severn River. AACPS had previously rented the property to be used as the “Arlington Echo Outdoor School.” In 1974, the site became known as the “Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center.” Arlington Echo now serves as the outdoor education site for the fourth grade environmental literacy program and the “home base” for the many other programs overseen by EL/OE Office.