The Environmental Studies Program
The Environmental Studies Program at St. Mary’s High School takes full advantage of opportunities made available to a campus and community located on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, North America’s largest estuary. Students in this program explore
the responsibilities associated with environmental stewardship through academic study, hands-on experience, community service, and a capstone Field Project component. Students also take advantage of a wide variety of partnering opportunities with local, regional, and national environmental organizations in the Baltimore-Washington-Annapolis area. This program is open to all students. Successful participants earn the Certificate of Environmental Studies, presented at graduation ceremonies alongside the St. Mary’s High School diploma.
Satisfactory completion of the courses Environmental Science and Honors Environmental Literature.
Active participation in the St. Mary’s Environmental Club for a minimum of two years. This club requirement may be fulfilled through participation in other clubs (Rod and Reel, Model UN, S.A.V.E, Photography) provided that students work with moderators to demonstrate a sustained focus on environmental issues or subject matter within the alternate club.
Documented completion of a minimum of 8-10 hours of hands-on environmental service to the community subject to prior approval by the Faculty Environmental Committee (FEC).
Independent Reading Component
Close reading/viewing and subsequent completion of a 2-3 page typed précis for each of four books/films to be selected by the student from the FEC approved list of Program Books and Films. Written reports to be submitted for review by and discussion
with the FEC.
Achievement and Award of the Certificate of Environmental Studies
A Certificate of Environmental Studies is awarded at Graduation alongside the academic diploma following successful completion of each of the above components and a final determination by the FEC. Students receiving the Certificate will be noted in the graduation program. Additionally, a senior outstanding in his or her work in the field of Environmental Studies and who has successfully completed the Certificate Program may be nominated for the St. Mary’s Environmental Stewardship Award. The award is presented at the Senior Awards Ceremony.
Field Project Component
Students must successfully complete an Environmental Field Project. The Field Project originates with the student but may be developed in conjunction with an FEC member or a recognized and approved organization such as CBF. A comprehensive, typed plan for the Field Project must be submitted for approval by the FEC no later than the first semester of the junior year. This should include an argument for the necessity and the benefits of the project as well as the stages of approach and final outcomes being worked toward. Following approval, work on the Field Project must begin no later than the junior year and must be completed no later than the end of the first semester of the senior year. Following completion of the project a typed Field Report must be submitted to and discussed with the FEC. The Field Report must include a paragraph describing how and why the project was developed by the student, what need was met by the project, and must include specific objectives and procedures, as well as a conclusion detailing the success or failure of the project, reasons for these, and a summary of the long-term environmental contributions achieved. Reports must be typed and must receive satisfactory approval by the FEC following the evaluative seminar attended by both the FEC and the individual student. Field work completed in pursuit of the Field Project component may be counted toward
fulfillment of the Service Component with approval of the FEC. Alternate forms of the Field Project are permissible with approval of the FEC. While students are encouraged to pursue a tangible, on-the-ground style project such as a restoration effort or clean-up project, students may also produce, among other things, a photo essay, an environmentally-themed literary collection, or a long-form paper analyzing and developing thought on a specific environmental issue.
Recognizing that connecting academic work to first-hand experience in the natural world is an essential bridge in the field of Environmental Studies, students are highly encouraged to
participate in an overnight outdoor experience as part of their work in the program at St. Mary’s. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation offers numerous overnight nature education/ immersion courses in the Chesapeake region. The “Sultana” offers 2-3 day overnight sailing experiences on the Bay which touch on historic and environmental issues. These opportunities provide students with a first-hand experience of the history, ecology, and culture of North America’s largest estuary and effectively re-connect the student to the natural world. Such opportunities will be made available to students in the program
and group trips will occasionally be organized and offered by members of the environmental faculty at St. Mary’s.
There are numerous environmental groups that St. Mary’s students might partner with as they pursue the Service and Field Work components of the program. Among them are
• Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF)
• Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
• Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE)
• National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ocean Conservancy
• Sierra Club
• Spa Creek Conservancy Surfrider Foundation