Working together to keep today's treasures for tomorrow slide image Protecting the natural heritage of this diverse estuary slide image Promoting water quality and land preservation slide image Supporting a rich ecosystem for our local economy and quality of life slide image Managing our natural resources through consensus building slide image

News and Resources

Area youths experience 'green' life - August 1, 2011

"What will you do with your wild, beautiful life?" asked Rue Mapp, founder of Outdoor Afro. Whatever it is, "you have to be hungry for it," urged Akiima Price, chief of education and programs for the New York Restoration Project. Follow your passion.

Nearly 200 local youth from Worcester, Wicomico, and Somerset counties had the opportunity to meet young, passionate, courageous African-American leaders who are working to encourage more people of color to spend more time outdoors, discover "what's good in their hood," learn the necessary steps to influence positive change and consider "green" jobs and their future.

After a morning of presentations and discussion at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the students braved the stifling heat and set out for the Hazel Outdoor Discovery Center in Eden. After all, the day was about spending more time outside, so where better to be than outside?

Everyone enjoyed a delicious barbecue and then had the chance to choose between a variety of activities -- or try them all out. Many kayaked and fished for the first time. Catfish, bluegill and largemouth bass were caught. Some enjoyed a hayride through the woods. Others took aim with air rifles in target practice. Many of the experiences were firsts for these youths. There was also the opportunity to play cards outside under the shade of a pavilion, dance and just get to know each other better.

Choice was an important component of the program. So was the chance to forge new relationships with each other and invited guests. Coastal Steward Ahtyla Brown felt as if she made a personal connection with the speakers, gleaning valuable information and inspiration from each of them. Participants in the daylong "Get Out. Get Green. Get Paid" symposium included students enrolled in the Upward Bound program at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and those involved in conservation-related job programs including Coastal Stewards, the Maryland Conservation Corps, Maryland Conservation Job Corps, Youth Conservation Corps and the Chesapeake Conservation Corps. Did you know so many conservation-related youth employment programs existed on the Lower Shore? Youths ranging in age from 14-25 gain valuable work experience, participate in professional and personal development opportunities and receive a paycheck. Many of these students later secure positions with state and federal agencies, local parks and nonprofits. Those who seek other types of employment or follow different career paths undoubtedly do so with a broader understanding of the opportunities available to them and an increased understanding of environmental issues.

Nick Clemons, a ranger at Assateague Island National Seashore, encouraged local students to seek opportunities offered through the National Park Service. Clemons, a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, served as an intern with the Maryland Coastal Bays Program while pursuing his undergraduate degree. Then, as a graduate student, he worked as a seasonal employee at Assateague Island National Seashore.Now, after receiving his master's in Natural Resource Science, Clemons is a full-time employee with the National Park Service. He is a role model for local youth.

David Greaves, another guest speaker, is the Black Employment Program Officer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Philadelphia. Greaves spoke to students not only about opportunities for internships and employment with the EPA, but also about steps they can take to ensure that their own local environment is improved. Greaves' messages about water quality had personal significance when details of the journey between a toilet flush and turning on a faucet were discussed in detail.

The Maryland Coastal Bays Program is thankful to Mapp, Price, Greaves and Clemons for taking time to spend with our youths. Their commitment and passion for their work is an inspiration. MCBP is also grateful for our partners and funders without whom an such an event would not have been possible -- the EPA, UMES Upward Bound, the National Park Service, Maryland State Park Service and the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore. Our shared investment in local youth will benefit us all.

If one thing offered by one person that day caused a shift in perspective, sparked some small change or encouraged someone to follow their passion, it was all worth it. But I am confident the impact was even more far-reaching.

» Carrie Samis is the education coordinator for the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, online at www.mdcoastalbays.org.


To view article click here

Archived News

More Archived News
View Current News

U.S EPA News Region 3

Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program