Montgomery Parks Brookside Gardens Selected as 2014 Maryland Green Center by The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education

June 3, 2014

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission announces that Brookside Gardens has been certified as a 2014 Maryland Green Center by The Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE)

Maryland Green Centers are part of the Maryland Green School Program, a nationally recognized program begun in 1999 to promote environmental literacy, sustainability and best practices. Brookside Gardens’ certification was earned through a holistic, integrated approach to incorporating environmental education and practices with community stewardship.


Brookside Gardens staff, Stephanie Oberle (pictured left) and Ellen Hartranft (pictured left) are joined by MAEOE representative to receive their 2014 Green Center Award.

Brookside Gardens staff, Stephanie Oberle (pictured left) and Ellen Hartranft (pictured right) are joined by MAEOE representative (Laura Collard, center) to receive their 2014 Green Center Award.

“Brookside Gardens has long been a resource for local schools, teachers and students, providing hands-on learning experiences that support school curriculum, said Stephanie Oberle, Director of Brookside Gardens.  “As a much loved and visited Montgomery Parks system facility, it is extremely important that our operations model environmental stewardship behaviors that everyone can adopt in their own home or workplace.  This certification goes a long way in showcasing those efforts by our staff and the community as a whole.”


Brookside Gardens, a 50-acre public display garden located within Wheaton Regional Park, Maryland, supports environmental literacy through curriculum based programs that have reached more than 3,000 students in the past two years. Factors contributing to Brookside Gardens’ certification include:

  • Two major sections of its Strategic Plan are focused on sustainability and environmental literacy intended to foster a greener organization, dedicated to promoting environmental literacy;
  • Green Thumbs Up interpretive panels were created to highlight sustainable products and practices throughout the Gardens;
  • A partnership was formed with Glenallan Elementary School in which Brookside Gardens serves as a resource on environmental issues;
  • The annual Green Matters Symposium is held to provides the community important information on a variety of environmental and sustainable topics.

“Building a framework today for sustainable environmental structures at school, home and in the community, that is what the Maryland Green Schools program brings to the children of Maryland,” says Laura Johnson Collard, MAEOE Executive Director. The outdoor settings are used to develop an integrated context for learning from elementary school through high school. The children have an impact on their school, homes and their communities. The Maryland Green Schools program plays an important role in fulfilling the state’s commitment to ensure our young people become environmentally literate by the time they graduate.”



A Recipient of the Governor’s Smart, Green, and Growing Award, MAEOE is a non-profit membership association that encourages, educates, and supports Maryland educators to inspire the people of Maryland by increasing understanding of the natural resources that exist in the state and engaging adults and children to act responsibly as they enjoy being outside. MAEOE s Maryland Green School program began in 1997. For a complete listing of Green Schools and Green Centers visit .


About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 35,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems.


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