ASSATEAGUE — Assateague State Park last week was named one of seven newly certified Maryland Green Centers, becoming the first state park to earn the distinction and joining the Maryland Coastal Bays Program as one of only two entities in Worcester County.
The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) last week named Assateague State Park one of seven recently certified Maryland Green Centers at a special ceremony at Sandy Point. To be recognized as a Maryland Green Center, Assateague State Park had to demonstrate best environmental management practices, support community environmental learning and facilitate the development of Maryland Green Schools within its service area.
“Maryland Green Centers contain mentors, trainers, teachers, and cheerleaders for schools working to become Maryland Green Schools,” said MAEOE executive director Bronwyn Mitchell. “To put it simply, these centers are incubators of Maryland Green Schools.”
Assateague State Park is the first of Maryland’s State Parks to earn Green Center status and stands out in the region as a respected source for quality environmental education and interpretive programs. The park serves more than 45,000 visitors each year with hands-on learning, outdoor exploration and use of natural play and classroom spaces.
Park staff have partnered with local organizations such as the Maryland Coastal Bays Program and National Park Service to host professional development workshops for teachers and hold community special events such as Maryland Coast Day. The Park and its partners also host the Coastal Stewards and Maryland Conservation Jobs Corps youth programs that train young adults, teaching them green job skills and encouraging environmental stewardship.
“Assateague State Park, and the Maryland Park Service, want to be more than just a role model for sustainability,” said Maryland Park Service Superintendent Nita Settina “We want to be a showcase for strategies and technologies that our visitors and students can take home with them to enhance their own green lifestyle.”
Some of the park’s best management practices include energy saving on-demand hot water heaters, an in-park recycling facility, rain barrels, re-foresting over two acres of park property, an electric-powered ATV, and foot and bicycle patrols of the campground.