Elms Environmental Education Center

Welcome to Planet Earth

Planning Your Trip

Transportation Information


Once your class appears on the schedule, we schedule a bus for you with one of our two bus contractors. All you need to do is give a Program Trip Application Form to the bus driver.


With one exception (special needs buses). If you require a special needs bus:

  • Submit a Program Trip Application to the Department of Transportation (available on their website.)
  • Please highlight and star the Special Needs section. When they see “Environmental Education” on the form, they know that they do NOT normally need to arrange any buses, and it may be accidentally overlooked if it is not noticeably flagged.
  • Ask whether it is a bus that will fit one, two, or no classes with the student.

Then call us to let us know:

  • What date and program your student will be attending.
  • That you have requested a special needs bus with Transportation.
  • Whether or not the regular bus will still be needed.

Call Transportation a week or two ahead of time to re-confirm the need.


If you have any questions about transportation arrangements for the Environmental Education Programs, please contact us (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). The Department of Transportation does not schedule Environmental Education Program buses and will not be able to answer your questions.



Transportation Times


  • “Shuttles” (for schools near the Elms: a.m. and p.m. students arrive separately)
    •  Bus pick-up from school will be 15 minutes after arrival.
    •  Bus departure from site will be 30 minutes prior to dismissal.
  •  “Combination” Programs (for more distant schools: a.m. and p.m. students arrive together)
    •  Bus pick-up from school will be at 9:15.
    • Bus departure from site will be at 12:15.

*Click here for exact times per school.


Kindergarten – Grade 5

  • Bus pick-up from your school will be at 9:15 (except Greenview Knolls & Carver: 8:45)
  • Bus departure from the site will be at 2:15* (except Greenview Knolls & Carver: 1:45*)

* To accommodate the extraordinary demand by multiple users for bus trip transportation during May and June, some buses may need to depart from site by 1:45 or 2:00.

Parochial Schools (Pre-K – Grade 5)

  • Bus pick-up from your school will be at 8:45
  • Bus departure from the site will be at 1:45.


King’s Christian Academy

  • Bus pick-up from your school will be at 9:15.
  • Bus departure from the site will be at 2:15.


 Middle Schools (including Parochial Grades 6, 7, and 8)

  • Bus pick-up from your school will be at 8:30
  • Bus departure from the site will be at 1:30


 High Schools

  • Bus pick-up from your school will be at 8:15.
  • Bus departure from the site will be at 1:30.

Fairlead Academy:

  • Bus pick-up from your school will be 8:45 am.
  • Bus departure from the site will be 1:00 pm.

Weather Cancellations

Programs are not usually cancelled by weather. They will be cancelled for safety (lightning) and for system-wide weather cancellations (including delayed arrivals and early closures).

Programs WILL be cancelled on our end if steady rain is expected for the majority of the period from 10:00 to 2:00. They will also be cancelled for a combination of two or more of the following factors: rain, strong wind, and cold temperature.

Winter programs are based indoors with significant outdoor activities. The ratio of indoor to outdoor time is adjusted based on the above factors. No programs are conducted entirely indoors. 

If you would like to communicate with us, feel free to call us the day before questionable weather. Anytime ...

What Students Need to Know

Dress ...

  • for participation in outdoor activities year-round
  • for temperatures (near the water) 10 degrees COLDER (and more windy) than at home or school
  • in layers.
  • in clothes and closed-toe shoes which can get wet and soiled.
  • in rain gear when rain is expected.
  • Pre-apply sun block and insect repellent if desired.

Food and Drink:

  • Pack in reusable containers, if possible.
  • Be prepared to recycle and compost any lunch remains.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle (labeled with your name). Drinking water is available, but not cups.

Program Fees

  • Pre-K , K, 1st, 2nd and 4th grade: $10.00
  • 5th grade: $13.00
  • High School: $13.00 Sotterley (canoeing); $10.00 Elms
  • Residential (overnight): $31.00

Note: For SMCPS schools only there are no fees for 3rd and 7th grade programs during the 2017-2018 School Year.

Class Structure

All Pre-K through 4th and 7th grade programs are structured so that there is both whole group instruction and small group application. Please prepare your class by breaking them into 4 working groups, each with one chaperone. 5th grade canoeing programs are whole group.

Mailing to the Elms

To physically send or return things to Elms (nursery pots, critter keepers, buckets, equipment, clothing, etc.), please put them in Metro Mail and address to:


The Elms Environmental Education Center
Department of Teaching, Learning and Professional Development
23160 Moakley Street, Suite 101
Leonardtown, MD 20650

Chaperones/Group Leaders

Chaperones are not charged program fees, as they are expected to serve as active program assistants. Chaperones for Pre-K through 4th and 7th grade programs should be prepared to serve as small group leaders. Chaperones for the 5th grade canoeing program should be prepared to serve as competent canoe aides in the boats.

In addition to the classroom teacher and 5th grade P.E. teacher, please bring (no more than) 4 actively engaged chaperones for each Pre-K through 5th and 7th grade class. Thank you in advance for your understanding. We understand that it is not always possible to arrange for chaperones, and we will certainly work with you. Additional school staff (Para-educators, Special Education Teachers, Nurses, Principals etc.) needed to support student learning are always welcome in addition to the parent chaperones.

Search this site


St. Mary's County Public Schools

Charting a Course to Excellence


Home  | For Students | For Parents | For Teachers | Nursery | smcps.org

The Elms Environmental Education Center is the home of Environmental Education for St. Mary's County Public Schools.

Unless otherwise indicated all original content on this site is free and in the public domain.