September 19, 2012

Cardin, Mikulski Announce $50,000 in Federal Funds For Evergreen Center Learning Stations Collaborative Project In Allegany County

WASHINGTON-- U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) today announced that an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant of $ 50,000 has been awarded to Frostburg State University to develop the Evergreen Heritage Center Green Learning Stations project, which will be used to further environmental education, job training, and research in Western Maryland.

The Evergreen Heritage Center in conjunction with Frostburg State (FSU), Allegany College of Maryland, Allegany Public Schools, the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Department of Agriculture will participate in the Evergreen Center Green Learning Stations project.  The learning stations will focus on four areas: water and soil, forest ecology, climate change and alternative energy and help students gain a new appreciation for these important environmental issues.

“This grant provides a wonderful opportunity to develop a hands-on learning experience that will enable our students to have a greater appreciation and understanding of the environment,” said Senator Cardin. “This project  will benefit from a strong partnership of state and local organizations dedicated to providing young people with practical experiences that will prepare them to become committed environmental stewards.”

“Investment in environmental stewardship is an investment in the future of our state,“ Senator Mikulski said. “Through education that goes beyond the classroom and explores Maryland’s natural wonders, we will help preserve our environmental heritage for future generations. A healthy environment leads to a healthy economy. This federal grant will help students better understand their role in protecting our planet.”

“This project will involve over 200 college students, scores of middle school students, nonprofits and governmental organizations all working together to develop a program that will provide meaningful outdoor experiences to Marylanders,” said Janice Keene, President of Evergreen Heritage Center Foundation. “When you teach students about ecology, soil water and the forests-and how they are connected- not only do they see their stake in preserving the environment, but you give them critical thinking skills they can take on to further education and eventually the workforce.”

The Evergreen Heritage Center provides environmental and experiential learning opportunities to students in grades K-12 and to college students. In order to further develop the center while maintaining it as an ecologically sound environmental site, last year ARC funded the development of a green master plan. This project begins the implementation of that plan and is centered on the development of 12 workstations that will allow students to gain hand-on experience of a myriad of skills and concepts.

Furthermore, this grant will fund accompanying activities for the classroom and outside the classroom that will extend and complement the station learning experience. It also will contain peer review to help gauge effectiveness and lesson plans will be available to the public online. In addition to the ARC funds, the state will provide $2,953 in funding and local funding will provide $47,047.  The total cost of the project will be $100,000.