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Their first public appearance was a smash hit.

Six Chesapeake Bay Middle School students stood before state and federal environmental experts Wednesday in Annapolis to explain that they want to build an artificial reef at the Downs Park fishing pier in Pasadena to improve water quality and fishing opportunities.

They walked out to applause from the adults and some helpful suggestions for their next audience: Gov. Martin O'Malley and the rest of the Board of Public Works.

"This is good. He likes PowerPoint presentations," said one adult.

"You need to get a map, so people know where this is," counseled another.

Afterward, the students critiqued themselves.

"I thought we were really confident and had a lot of energy," Mary Arlauskas said.

"And we were positive," Anthony Tritz added. "An A-plus."

They hope to have a gubernatorial audience next month, so they can begin construction in March.

"We're ready to roll for December," said teacher Jake Gavin, before taking the kids out for bagels.

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