About The Elms

Phone numbers, email, maps and directions

"The Elms" is the Home of Outdoor Environmental Science for St. Mary's County Public Schools. Our mission is to engage students and stakeholders in hands-on environmental investigations and inspire life-long stewardship of our natural resources beginning in our own backyard: the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

3rd grade students studying a vernal pool

During grade-specific field studies, students explore the diverse habitats of our county, including forests, wetlands, meadows, and beaches. Programs are led by SMCPS Elms staff and volunteers at The Elms, at partner sites including Historic Sotterley Plantation and Greenwell State Park, and on school sites.

The Elms site:

The Elms is a 400+ acre outdoor classroom hosting multiple ecologically diverse field study sites on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The property features 2 miles of sandy shoreline, brackish and freshwater wetlands, lowland and upland forests and is interspersed with 3 miles of low impact trails.

The property is part of a 1,020 acre tract located in southern St. Mary's County owned by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and is overseen by its Power Plant Research Program.

Enterprise newspaper article from 1977

"For Environmental Education, Land Could Be 'Living Lab'," by Sunny May Schust, The Enterprise 07/07/1977, A-8

Historical Land Use at The Elms and its Effects on the Landscape

Who was here before students roamed The Elms? You may be surprised. Read Elms Maryland Master Naturalist Robert Hurry's History of the Elms Property!

The Elms Property Land Use History revised 2018 - higher resolution.pdf