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.
Students should have adult supervision at all times. Chaperones escort students to their activities, meals, rest rooms and other camp locations. 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. Turn cell phones and other electronic devices to “OFF” or “VIBRATE.”
7. Make bathroom stops between activities.
8. If necessary, take students to health room or office for first aid.
9. Try to stay on schedule.
10. Help students treat the environment and facilities with care.
For adults without a teaching background, the idea of leading an activity with a group of students in the outdoors can be daunting! Relax! 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. Click here for activity leader information packet
Here are some tips to ensure your success:
Tips for Activity Leaders
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 mix, measure, write on charts, etc. Give students jobs to assist with equipment clean-up, etc. For example, ask, “Who wants to collect the compasses?”
4. Use questions to keep students thinking and to promote discussion. Avoid lecturing. 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 phones and 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!
For day trips, check the weather and dress your child appropriately. Send a reusable water bottle and a change of clothes (just in case!). Closed-toed shoes are required (no flip-flops or Crocs!). Apply insect repellent and sunscreen as needed before your child leaves home.
For overnight trips, make sure you and your child come prepared for the weather! Check out our sample checklist by clicking the link below.
Depending on which school your child addends, trips to Arlington Echo are scheduled as day trips or overnight trips. Not sure? Find out from your child's teacher prior to the date of your trip.
Day Trips typically run from the school's arrival at 10:00 a.m. to departure at 5:00 p.m. Lunch and snack are included. Sample day schedule.
Overnight Trips typically run from the school's arrival on Day 1 at 10:00 a.m. to departure on Day 2 at 2:00 p.m. Lunch, snack, and dinner are provided the first day and breakfast and lunch on the second day. Sample overnight schedule.
French toast sticks w/ bacon, Muffins, Breakfast breads, Breakfast Bar, Rice Chex, Cheerios, Fresh Fruit, Vanilla Yogurt
Monday - Soft shell tacos, Tortilla chips, Green Beans, Salad Bar w/ fresh Fruit & Vegetables, Milk, Vegetarian Option – Garden Burger
Tuesday - Cheese pizza sticks w/ marinara sauce, Roasted Butternut Squash, Salad Bar w/ fresh Fruit & Vegetables, Milk, Vegetarian Option – Cheese Pizza
Wednesday - Soft shell tacos, Tortilla chips, Green Beans, Salad Bar w/ fresh Fruit & Vegetables, Milk, Vegetarian Option – Garden Burger
Thursday - Cheese pizza sticks w/ marinara sauce, Roasted Butternut Squash, Salad Bar w/ fresh Fruit & Vegetables, Milk, Vegetarian Option – Cheese Pizza
Friday Soft shell tacos, Tortilla chips, Green Beans, Salad Bar w/ fresh Fruit & Vegetables, Milk, Vegetarian Option – Garden Burger
Mandarin orange chicken,Seasoned rice, Broccoli Normandy, Salad Bar w/ fresh Fruit & Vegetables, Milk, Dessert, Vegetarian Option – Cheese Lasagna w/ Garlic Breadstick
Please Contact Food & Nutrition Services at 410-222-5900 with any dietary concerns.
Ted Hall email@example.com
Jessica Lechert firstname.lastname@example.org
Arlington Echo 410-222-3822