Environmental Literacy

The goal of Maryland's Environmental Literacy instructional program is to enable students to make decisions and take actions that create and maintain an optimal relationship between themselves and the environment, and to preserve and protect the unique natural resources of Maryland, particularly those of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.

Supporting Documents

Programs and Organizations

The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Program recognizes early learning centers, schools, districts, and higher education institutions that conserve environmental resources, reduce costs, feature environmentally sustainable learning spaces, protect school and community health, foster wellness, and offer environmental and sustainability education. The recognition award is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about practices proven to improve student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates, and workforce preparedness, as well as a government-wide aim to increase energy independence and economic security.

The application cycle for the 2023-24 school year is now open. Schools, school districts, and early learning centers in Maryland are eligible and encouraged to apply to MSDE for consideration as a Green Ribbon School from Maryland. The application materials for 2024 are posted below. Please be sure to complete and submit the completed application and the appropriate Presentation Form to MSDE by December 15, 2024.

MSDE will review all applications using the Maryland Green Ribbon Rubric. Maryland may forward up to five (5) applications to the U.S. Department of Education who will make the final decision regarding national recognition.

Please direct questions to Zachary Carey, Director of Science.

The Maryland Green Schools Program is a sustainable school certification program that recognizes schools that provide PreK – 12 students with educational opportunities that empower them to make changes to reduce environmental impact, practice environmental stewardship, encourage sustainability, increase awareness of how our relationship with the environment ultimately impacts public health and society and fosters environmental literacy.

The Maryland Envirothon is a competitive environmental program for high school students in grades 9 – 12.  Students learn about the natural world of aquatics, forestry, soils, and wildlife through various hands-on activities from resource professionals who are experts in the field.  Subsequently, students apply this knowledge to various real-life situations of managing those resources.

The Chesapeake Bay Program brings together the Chesapeake Bay “headwater states” to envision an environmentally and economically sustainable Chesapeake Bay watershed with clean water, abundant life, conserved lands, access to the water, a vibrant cultural heritage, and a diversity of engaged citizens and stakeholders.

Project Green Classrooms is an advisory body of well-rounded public-private stakeholders designed to mobilize resources to ensure Maryland’s youth experience, understand, and learn to conserve the natural environment. 

The Commission is an advisory group charged with recommending approaches to “mitigate the causes of, prepare for, and adapt to the consequences of climate change.”

Local Education Agency Environmental Literacy Contact Information

For information on environmental literacy instructional programming within a local education agency (LEA), please contact the LEA’s Environmental Literacy Point of Contact.


Zachary Carey, Director of Science
Office of Teaching and Learning

Office: (410) 767-0348