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Camp Schmidt, A Rite Of Passage In PG County

2011 March 10

By Lina Younes

As I was reading the Saturday paper, I came across an article that made me very sad. The outdoor environmental education center in Prince George’s County, Maryland, commonly known as Camp Schmidt will likely close this summer. This school year may be the last time that fifth graders from across the county will participate in the environmental education activities at Camp Schmidt.

For many in the county, the two day visit to Camp Schmidt has been considered a rite of passage. As part of Maryland’s curriculum, PG County students have been required to spend two days at the camp. For my daughters’ elementary school, the overnight trip was usually scheduled in the spring. So, for three years in a row in the late 90s, I gladly volunteered to chaperone the event. I remember walking in the woods, collecting samples from the stream, and participating in other outdoor activities. My children still cherish their experience at Camp Schmidt. Hope others will continue to enjoy similar experiences in the future.

In general, in Maryland we are quite fortunate to have nature and science learning centers for kids and adults alike. I remember going with my children on several occasions to the Howard B. Owens Science Center to learn about composting and other environmental activities. Even if these field trips do not always lead to a career in the sciences, I’m sure that the experience makes children better environmental protectors now and for generations to come.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves as Acting Associate Director for Environmental Education. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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9 Responses leave one →
  1. Mobile Websites permalink
    March 10, 2011

    I am saddened to hear of this… growing up in the area I can remember all of the great times our family had at Camp Schmidt. It was the ultimate outdoor learning playground. From seeing all the different insects to just laying on grass and watching the clouds go by – it was a great place to be and learn about nature…

    Gus Skarlis

  2. Anonymous permalink
    March 10, 2011

    summer camps rule

  3. RemotE permalink
    March 13, 2011

    You have provided an excellent article thank you very much.

    orjin krem

  4. travis permalink
    March 31, 2011

    thanks for the article please check out “save camp schmidt” on facebook!

  5. pest Control permalink
    July 18, 2011

    This summer camp was closed due to many reasons.I heard that it was not in position to educate students.

  6. Lina-EPA permalink*
    July 18, 2011

    Actually, the main reason Camp Schmidt was on the potential chopping block was due to budgetary reasons. After some intense efforts by local community leaders and others who have benefitted from the Camp Schmidt experience, it seems that the camp has been funded for this year. Here’s a recent article on the issue:


  7. Ronnie permalink
    September 22, 2011

    Oh nooo!!! I remember going to Camp Schmidt as a child back in the 80’s. I want my children who are in elementary school now, to experience what I did as a child. Camp Schmidt ROCKS!!!

  8. Tatiana permalink
    January 30, 2012

    My son is attending the camp today and tomorrow. I was a little worried at first, I have never been and wasn’t sure of the events that would take place. He is in the fifth grade and didn’t want me tagging along. Growing up too fast! From what I have read online the camp seems like a good place for children.

  9. Lina-EPA permalink
    January 30, 2012

    I’m sure he’ll enjoy it. I went with my three elder children when they were in 5th grade and with my youngest for a one-day Girl Scouts event. You are right. They grow so fast. Thanks for visiting our blog.

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