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Special Events and Activities

Virtual Exhiibit Hall

Connect with a variety organizations, agencies, businesses and vendors offering a range of information and resources. The Exhibit Hall opens Wednesday afternoon for networking and is open throughout the day on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Do not miss the special networking sessions built into the schedule. Although Covid-19 means that we are going virtual in 2021, there are lots of opportunities to connect with organizations that can support your work. Come to explore or sign up for specific times to meet with exhibitors!

The Robert Finton Outdoor Educator of the Year Award

MAEOE will present the Robert Finton Outdoor Educator of the Year Award to an individual who demonstrates leadership and innovation in environmental and outdoor education. Bob Finton personified enthusiasm, innovation and excellence in the field of environmental education and this award honors his memory by rewarding a non-formal practitioner of outdoor education who strives to match these qualities. For more information and to submit a nomination, CLICK HERE. Nominations due by 5:00 PM on December 18, 2020.

Sunday Field Experiences

Go on a DIY adventure with a Green Center! All conference attendees will get a link to information about Green Centers across the state about their programming during the MAEOE conference and beyond. You, your family, your colleagues and/or your school can participate in a variety of virtual or in-person hikes, ranger-led experiences, service projects or more. Please be sure to double-check all details directly with the Green Center, since things do have a tendency to change quickly these days. More information to come. No registration required.

Tom Horton Film - High Tide in Dorchester

Watch the film, High Tide in Dorchester and then participate in a Q&A session with Tom Horton. The film, High Tide in Dorchester, aims to foster a conversation about climate change and related impacts of sea level rise and erosion, and leverage that conversation into action. The focus, Dorchester County, MD, is already experiencing the future that increasingly faces coastal areas worldwide. This low-lying county on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay is the fourth largest of Maryland’s 23 counties by land area, but it is destined to drop to the 14th largest by 2100 — or sooner — as waters rise and erosion worsens. Dorchester is the coal miner’s canary; ground zero for the Chesapeake Region.

High Tide in Dorchester is a wake-up call: It’s time for a retreat from the shoreline, of which the Chesapeake estuary has some 11,000 miles. Historically, millions of people have sought to live as close to that shoreline as possible, but few communities are doing adequate planning to meet the imminent challenges of restraint, retreat and adaptation to living on the edges of a rising tide.

Rising seas also threaten many species of waterfowl and other birds that nest in Dorchester’s extensive wetlands — 45 per cent of Maryland’s total tidal wetland acreage. It is imperative that we give these wetlands space to migrate upland as they are flooded in the lowlands. The film looks closely at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, where scientists and managers are already dealing with the impacts of the rising tide.

2021 MAEOE Challenge

Every year the MAEOE Challenge encourages organizations to get a group together to participate in an activity! Winners get the organization name added to the coveted MAEOE Challenge Paddle AND get to determine the challenge for the following year.

This year Arlington Echo Challenges to you a virtual outdoor scavenger hunt!! The challenge activity will occur during the week of the conference over the course of 1.5 days, all-day Friday with submissions due by noon on Saturday.

Challenge participants will be tasked with going outdoors in the area around their home and photographing observations from a variety of categories (abiotic and biotic). Once you have your team together, sign up and you will be sent the challenge instructions on Friday, February 5, no early starts and the challenge must be completed in the 1.5 days allotted.

Community Meetings

Friday after dinner, look for a “community” gathering that may benefit you or your organization. This year our “communities” will discuss how in this crazy COVID climate, our personal connections with nature and each other are more important than ever. There will be time for supportive discussion amongst the educators where you can open up about the trials and successes from this past year- and discuss where we can all assist each other.

The format is small group, facilitated discussion. Choose from the following:

  • Early & Elementary Education
  • Secondary & Higher Education
  • Outdoor Education Centers
  • Young Professionals
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Sustainable Schools

There is no fee, but you must sign up for a group during registration so that we know the numbers for planning purposes. A great way to start and continue discussions with your peers.

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