Audubon Naturalist Society
Founded in 1897, Audubon Naturalist Society is one of the oldest environmental organizations in Maryland. Our mission is to connect residents with nature and inspire them to appreciate, understand, and protect our forests, wetlands, water resources, and open spaces.
We accomplish our mission through education, advocacy, and conservation activities. Thousands of school children visit our Woodend Nature Sanctuary each year for hands-on, interactive learning. Our GreenKids program reaches thousands of Montgomery County Public Schools children through in-school environmental programs. Our volunteer water quality monitors track the health of Maryland streams, helping to promote our efforts to preserve local habitats and natural spaces.
Seven years ago, one of our members was volunteering in her son’s school. A teacher was trying to identify the trees in a wooded area nearby. No one knew what they were, so Nancy called in Audubon Naturalist Society for help. One of our naturalists came out and gave the teachers a tour highlighting all the animals and insects that live in various trees. By the end of the tour Nancy was inspired – she wanted to do what the naturalist did! Nancy took her first nature class at Woodend in 2010 and started teaching classes herself two years ago. Today Nancy goes into schools to present nature classes, and always invites the teachers on a special tour of the school grounds to increase their confidence teaching outside. What better way to connect thousands of children to Maryland’s natural world?
Maryland New Directions
Maryland New Directions (MND) is a 44-year-old award-winning nonprofit organization offering no-cost employment training and specialized career programs for Baltimore area residents, ages 18-60 years of age. MND works with over 350 motivated job-seekers annually, most of who face significant obstacles in finding a job or establishing a new career. Our holistic approach and valuable employer partnerships create opportunities for long-term careers and remarkable outcomes that included industry-recognized credentials, a livable wage, and an impressive employment retention rate of 82.5% (1 yr) for our graduates. MND’s impact is obvious in stories like Roger’s:
Like many Baltimore residents, Roger is capable and motivated, yet experienced difficultly finding quality work. Unable to afford college and recently laid off, he had little sense of where to turn. Scared, frustrated, and lacking a plan, his brother's Instagram post eventually led him to MND.
After successfully completing a training class in January 2016, MND connected Roger with a ‘survival job’, transporting cars for the Mercedes Benz’s Baltimore Vehicle Processing Center. Roger saw this as a stepping stone and continued to take full advantage of MND’s ongoing services, which he cites as critical to his success. Roger enrolled in MND’s Certified Customs Specialist (CCS) certification program in the summer of 2016. This six month online training course and certification exam is designed to help individuals become experts in current import regulations, allowing them to administer complicated customs processes necessary for the importation of goods transiting Baltimore’s port facilities. MND completely covered all costs for this training course and exam, as well as providing weekly instruction and study support. Through these support sessions, Roger came into contact with his future employer, transport and logistics specialists John S. Connor, Inc (JSC). Roger joined JSC as an Import Security Filing (ISF) Coordinator, a position that oversees compliance with federal regulations regarding imported goods. Roger is thrilled with his new job and his former feelings of fear, confusion, and frustration have been replaced by relief, happiness, and contentment – in addition to hope for the future.
Roger is just one example of the many who find a long-term career path after successfully completing MND programs. Our graduates leave empowered to obtain and retain employment, which is not just good for the individual and his or her family, but for the whole community.
Standards for Excellence
The Standards for Excellence is a set of best practices that helps nonprofits of all sizes and types be more successful in achieving their mission.