2019 Recipient Maura Duffy
YLACES (Youth Learning as Citizen Environmental Scientists), an organization committed to advancing student engagement in science, announces Maura Duffy, Conservation Project Manager at National Aquarium in Baltimore, as the winner of its Fifth Annual Youth Environmental Science (YES) Medal. Ms. Duffy has made a significant impact on environmental education in Baltimore and throughout Maryland through her work with the National Aquarium. She facilitates students’ participation in hands-on ecosystem monitoring and restoration activities both at the National Aquarium and in collaboration with external partners.
Ms. Duffy chose the National Aquarium to receive the $10,000 grant that accompanies the award from YLACES. The 2019 YES Medal Award will help the National Aquarium expand its citizen science and community-based habitat restoration programming over the coming year. With this funding, approximately 380 students from six schools will create wildlife habitat by raising native plants in their school yards during the fall and winter, and then transplanting them to a restoration project site in the spring. This citizen science program works with wildlife experts and more than a thousand community members to make wildlife species observations throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area primarily through an annual Masonville Cove BioBlitz and the City Nature Challenge.
The Medal will be presented to Ms. Duffy at the annual meeting of the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) in February 2020.
The YES Medal is awarded annually in recognition of a significant contribution to youth learning as citizen environmental scientists. The Medal is presented with a grant to an organization of the recipient’s choosing to further the organization’s work consistent with the objectives of YLACES -- to develop citizens with scientific habits of mind, utilizing the environmental as a learning laboratory where students conduct inquiry-based research and contribute to a better collective understanding of our changing worlds.
Maura leads the National Aquarium’s participation in the annual Masonville Cove BioBlitz and the City Nature Challenge More information is on the National Aquarium website under Urban Biodiversity and Habitat Restoration:
Maura also supports the Aquarium's Summer Citizen Science Programming in its Waterfront Park. In this role, she engages both the general public within the inner harbor and also works with the National Aquarium’s high school work study students (Aquarium on Wheels), as Citizen Science Ambassadors, teaching them about both the importance of citizen science as well as measurements of water quality and species diversity. In turn, these students assist Aquarium staff in educating the community at large.
Maura grew up in Catonsville, Maryland, and first discovered her passion for ecology and conservation in a high school science class. She also launched an environmental club in high school to share her passion with fellow students. While earning her bachelor's degree in environmental science and policy at the University of Maryland College Park, Maura interned for the Arundel Rivers Federation. She has worked at the National aquarium for five years.