2019 YES Medal Awarded to Maura Duffy ('13)

Dixon Butler, Maura Duffy, Laura Johnson-Collard (Executive Director, Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Education), Elena Takaki (Board Member, YLACES, and Project Wild Director)

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February 11, 2020


"YLACES is pleased to have presented the 2019 YES Medal to Maura Duffy yesterday evening at the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) Conference in Ocean City, Maryland. Every year since 2014, YLACES has honored a single recipient with the Youth Environmental Science Medal. The award is accompanied by a $10,000 grant to the non-profit of the winner’s choosing. Over the last five years, YES Medal honorees have included award winning scientists and even a multi-billion-dollar corporation, ESRI.

This year was the first time that we honored an early-career professional. Maura Duffy, while fairly early along her career path, has proven that she is an effective and creative advocate for engaging youth and the public in DOING environmental science.

Maura has worked at the National Aquarium in Baltimore for five years. In her role at the National Aquarium, Maura provides support to the annual Masonville Cove BioBlitz, a day-long event where scientists, naturalists, students, teachers, families, and other volunteers work together to identify and record as many living organisms as they can find. She also supports Baltimore's City Nature Challenge in which citizen scientists observe wildlife and take photos of all the plants and animals they can find and identify them to engage the community in learning about the flora and fauna in urban areas.

Maura 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 has selected the National Aquarium as the recipient of the $10,000 YES Medal grant. The National Aquarium will use these funds to 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 habitats 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.

We are grateful for Maura's passion for citizen science and education young people about the environment."

Read more about Maura's achievements HERE.