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Maryland Tidbits

July 8, 2011

Maryland, of course, is a neighbor of ours here in DC. Recently, two news items caught my eye that I thought were of note. The first isn’t exclusively urban in nature, but has important ramifications for kids who live in Maryland’s suburbs and cities (as well as those who live in rural parts of the state as well). The state of Maryland is joining the ranks of states that require environmental education in their state curriculum, starting in kindergarten and going all the way through senior year of high school! The Post has a nice run-down here.

Of note: “Students will have to learn about ecosystems, natural resources and health, examining ‘how their personal and collective actions affect the sustainability’ of ecological, economic, political and social systems. They also will analyze ‘positive and negative impacts of human activities on earth’s natural systems and resources.'”

Another recent Post article discussed efforts to breed Baltimore Checkerspot butterflies, the state

Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly, (c) D. Gordon E. Robertson, Wiki Commons

butterfly of Maryland, and release them into areas that likely have the habitat to support them (in particular, wet meadows). Butterflies could be considered the charismatic megafauna (see here for a definition of one of my favorite conservation phrases!) of the pollinator world, so not only are they important in and of themselves, but they can be a powerful wildlife symbol. Some of the volunteer efforts seem to be paying off, but in some restoration sites the butterflies are not able to maintain themselves after release. Not surprisingly, this is likely due to a decrease in available habitat.

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