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Keyword: green

Program Records 25 Percent More Cleanups and 67 Percent More Volunteers than Last Year

At an awards ceremony this morning at Reisterstown Elementary School, students and staff were excited to learn that their litter cleanup efforts netted them one of two grand prizes, and a $3,000 environmental grant in the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Education Foundation of Baltimore County Executive Director Debbie Phelps announced that 14 Baltimore County public schools were winners in this program that resulted in more than 5,600 volunteers picking up some 3,100 bags of litter in more than 400 litter cleanups around the County. Kamenetz encouraged the audience of students and faculty to picture the amount of debris collected in these 15-minute litter cleanups. “Just for a second, try to imagine 3,100 bags of litter,” he said. “I’ll bet it would fill up this whole gymnasium! Think about how great it is that it got bagged up rather than ending up in our streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.” 

Tons of Litter Collected, Thousands of Grant Dollars Distributed to Schools

The 2016 program resulted in 406 cleanups conducted by 5,602 volunteers. This is up from 324 cleanups conducted by 3,356 volunteers, who picked up 3,456 bags of trash last year. This is a 25 percent increase in cleanups and a 67 percent increase in volunteer participation from last year.

In addition to litter, Clean Green 15 volunteers collected many tons of bulk trash items from parks, streambanks, schoolyards and other locations all around Baltimore County. Cleanups included schoolchildren organized by teachers during the school day as well as community-based activity.

Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge Winning Schools 2016

AwardPrizeSchoolNumber of VolunteersPounds of Litter
Grand Prize – Most Volunteers$3,000 GrantReisterstown Elementary School1,3502,633
Grand Prize – Most Litter Collected$3,000 GrantGrange Elementary School67723,174
First Place Elementary School$2,000 GrantWestowne Elementary School5045,534
Second Place Elementary School

$1,500 Grant

Bear Creek Elementary School



First Place Middle School

$2,000 Grant

Holabird Middle School



Second Place Middle School

$1,500 Grant

Dundalk Middle School



First Place High School

$2,000 Grant

Western Schools of Technology and Environmental Science



Second Place High School

$1,500 Grant

Sparrows Point High School



Honorable Mention


Colgate Elementary School



Honorable Mention


Catonsville High School



Honorable Mention


Stemmers Run Middle School



Honorable Mention


Chapel Hill Elementary School*



Honorable Mention


Vincent Farms Elementary School*



Honorable Mention


Stoneleigh Elementary School



*Denotes a collaborative effort between schools.

Clean Green 15 Now Expanded to Run Year-Round

In addition to awarding prizes to the winning schools from this year, Kamenetz also announced that the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge will now run year-round, with groups eligible to log clean-ups from May 1, 2016, through April 30, 2017, for consideration in next year’s awards. “We are delighted to see the enthusiasm for the Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge growing — with 25 percent more cleanups logged this year than last and 67 percent more volunteers recorded,” Kamenetz said.

Through this program, BCPS schools and their community supporters conducted quick 15-minute litter clean-ups and competed from last fall through this April to see which school communities could log the most cleanups. The program is open to any group, including school-based groups, places of worship, youth groups, civic or community groups, scout troops, sport teams, businesses or other organizations that wish to help clean up their community. Groups were asked to report their clean-ups on the BCPS website.

Clean Green Collaboration to Tackle Trash in Neighborhoods and Waterways

Through the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge, the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools awarded grants to the top winning schools to fund school-based instructional projects emphasizing the theme of environmental literacy. Examples could include installing a reading garden or rain garden, planting trees, diverting downspouts or environmental education projects. Six schools won Honorable Mention awards and received iPads.

The Clean Green 15 Challenge is a positive hands-on way for our students to enhance their environmental literacy and demonstrate their pride in keeping their schools, neighborhoods and waterways clean and attractive,” said BCPS Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance.

The challenge was a collaborative effort of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS), Baltimore County Public Schools and the Education Foundation of Baltimore County. Sponsors included BGE, Maryland Environmental Service and Tradepoint Atlantic.

”Congratulations to all of the students and community members who removed litter from our neighborhoods, waterways and schools,” said Council Chair Vicki Almond. “I believe that this program teaches students the importance of keeping Baltimore County clean and beautiful.”

photo of kids on an indoor playgroundLinda S. Grossman, M.D., Chief, Bureau of Clinical Services
Baltimore County Department of Health

Physical activity is important to your child’s health year-round, but staying active during the winter can be challenging.  While outdoor activities are good for kids, sometimes it is just too cold, windy and wet to be outside for long. 

There are lots of ways to keep your children active indoors. Keep in mind your child and his or her interests:

·        Turn on the music and dance! Let your child pick the music, make up moves and have a dance party.

·        Make an indoor obstacle course. In a basement or activity room, make tunnels to climb through by draping blankets on chairs or a table, use pillows, cushions, and stools for things to climb over, and include stations for activities like jumping rope, jumping jacks or hula hooping.  When they have mastered the course, time them to see if they can do it faster.

·        Develop a game or a competition.  Throw rolled up socks at a target on the wall or on a door or into an indoor basketball hoop for points or have a competition about who can do the most jumping jacks. 

·        Get an active board game or play a videogame which involves physical activity. Twister is clearly active, but even games that require some movement like Guesstures or Footloose can help burn some energy.

·        Consider a gym or indoor pool membership for the winter if the facility is child friendly.

·        Visit community resources – walking around a museum or visiting a science center or the B&O Railroad Museum provides some activity and a change of scenery.

·        Visit a mall and play a variant on “I Spy” – who can spot ten blue things first or find a red flower in a window.

·        Find an indoor playground or go roller skating. If a fee is required, it may be worth it for an active outing on a cold, wet weekend day.

Also, check out our recent blog about outdoor play ideas.

For more ideas on keeping your children active this winter, visit

photo of boys building snowmanBy Linda S. Grossman, M.D., Chief, Bureau of Clinical Services
Baltimore County Department of Health

Physical activity is important to your child’s health year-round but staying active during winter when the days are shorter and the temperatures colder can be challenging for adults and children alike.  Outdoor activities, except when exceptionally cold, continue to be good for children for a variety of reasons.

·        Contact with nature improves a child’s mental and physical health

·        Outdoor physical activity encourages use of a child’s imagination

·        Outdoor play helps foster collaborative play and the development of problem solving skills

·        The opportunity to spread infections is reduced since, in fresh air, children are not “rebreathing” the germs of the group

Generally children, when dressed appropriately, can safely play outdoors for at least limited periods of time anytime the windchill is above zero degrees Fahrenheit.  Under wet or windy conditions, the time a person can play comfortably outside is likely to be shorter.

The three layer approach to dressing seems to work best to stay warm.  This three layer approach should be accompanied by gloves or mittens to keep hands warm as well as a scarf and a hat (or a hood) to help protect the head and neck.  Boots are also a good idea if it is snowy or wet out.

Layer One:  An inner layer of fabric that will wick moisture away from the skin, such as polyester

Layer Two: Wool or fleece to provide some insulation

Layer Three:  A material that is wind and water repellent (nylon and Gore-Tex are good examples)

As your child is more active (and depending on the outdoor temperature and wind), he or she may need to unzip or even remove some of these layers to stay comfortable.

Some ideas for outdoor activity include:

A family walk where you make a game out of spotting different animals or decorations

Playing in the snow

Hide and Seek

Ice skating, sledding, skiing or snowboarding

For more ideas on keeping your children active this winter, visit

Revised September 26, 2016