Maryland’s Stream Restoration Challenge is a competitive grant program that will seek to establish 1,000 acres of stream-side forests by 2015. For this challenge, the state and its partners have allocated $6 million to plant forested stream buffers with the goals of improving Bay water quality and creating opportunities for middle and high school students to engage in service-learning and environmental literacy activities. Local governments and non-government organizations (including watershed, community, and faith-based organizations, scout troops, school systems, and other academic institutions,) are encouraged to apply.
“The Stream Restoration Challenge complements the environmental literacy programs in many local school systems,” said Dr. Lillian M. Lowery, State superintendent of Schools. “It provides an authentic context for students to use critical-thinking skills and multidisciplinary content knowledge to investigate and help solve environmental problems affecting streams in their communities, and the Chesapeake Bay.”
As such, projects funded will engage and educate students and other citizens to promote an understanding of watershed issues and establish positive attitudes and behaviors that benefit local watersheds. Proposals that engage middle and high school students in earning Service Learning hours and align with the current State curriculum and learning standards will receive higher scores.
Costs for schools to participate can be included in the proposal and technical assistance is available, including help pairing schools/school systems with more technical partners.
To extend the reach of the challenge and promote community participation, urban communities that do not have available stream buffer opportunities may propose urban greening projects (i.e. greening of vacant urban lots, urban tree canopy, bioretention, bioswales, floating wetlands), which will be evaluated based on the potential environmental impact.
Applications are due 5 p.m. on October 31, 2012.
For additional information on this program, please refer to the Maryland’s Stream Restoration Challenge Request for Proposals.
Educators interested in participating in the Challenge can also check out these great Stream Restoration and Forest Buffer Lesson Plans!