“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.”
Arlington Echo has been recognized as a Green Center by the Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Educators (MAEOE).
The Maryland Green Center Program recognizes facilities that model efforts in environmental education, conservation, sustainable practices and community engagement. Maryland Green Centers offer support to schools working towards the Maryland Green Schools Award.
Check out our “green” highlights.
Arlington Echo has solar panels on the roof of Field Hall. These panels generate electricity from the sun’s energy, thus reducing our carbon footprint from greenhouse gases.
We encourage students to use reusable water bottles. This reduces waste of resources and energy associated with single-use bottled water. Arlington Echo has water fountains configured to refill water bottles easily. Adult groups that meet on site are discouraged from bringing single-use bottled water.
We use native plants in our gardens at Arlington Echo. Native plants are low maintenance. They thrive in the local climate without extra water or fertilizer. They also provide habitat for local wildlife, such as insects and birds.
We also conserve some special native plants such as pitcher plants and sun dews, carnivorous plants that attract and digest insects. These plants are endangered in Maryland because there are few bogs remaining, due to development. We also propagate Atlantic White Cedars, a rot-resistant tree that needs wet soil and can grow to be 80-100 feet tall. These trees are considered rare because of past logging and habitat loss.
The green roof on the boat house is made of living sedums, plants that are adapted to extreme temperature and drought. The plants remove nitrogen from the rainwater, which helps prevent algae blooms in the river. The green roof also insulates the building, keeping it cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
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. Anne Arundel County has the fourth worst air quality in the U.S., most of this pollution ends up in our runoff. 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.
These areas collect rainwater and release it slowly into the environment through evaporation and wicking. This reduces the impact of our stormwater on the Severn River and the Chesapeake Bay. These areas also provide habitat for native plants and animals.
Pervious concrete is one of the many ways we treat storm water at Arlington Echo. Pervious concrete is specialized asphalt with multiple layers of different sized aggregate. The aggregates promote infiltration of rainwater into the ground. Water filters through the pores, slowing down and depositing sediment and pollutants that it is carrying with it.
Through strategic placement of stone, sand and native plants, the living shoreline reduces erosion and sedimentation and provides habitat for a wide variety of aquatic species. This shoreline also dampens wave action, which further protects all area shorelines from erosion.
We encourage students to reduce food waste. Reducing food waste reduces the environmental impact of producing, packaging and transporting food.
Recycling is a way to conserve natural resources, reduce waste and pollution. We participate in Anne Arundel County’s single stream recycling program. Paper, plastic, metal and glass are recycled.
Composting is a way to conserve natural resources and reduce the amount of waste going into landfills. Composting is recycling natural materials into “humus,” a soil-like product that can be used to improve soil quality. During meals at Arlington Echo students learn what waste can be composted. Leftover food that is plant-based can be composted. Our compost demonstration area shows different styles of compost bins.