Baltimore County Now
County Launches Program for this School Year
At an awards ceremony this morning at Bear Creek Elementary School in Dundalk, students and staff were excited to learn that their litter clean-up efforts netted them the grand prize, and a $3,000 environmental grant in the second year of the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge.
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Public School (BCPS) Superintendent Dallas Dance and Education Foundation of Baltimore County President Timmy Ruppersberger announced that seven Baltimore County public schools were winners in this campaign that resulted in more than 3,356 volunteers participating in more than 324 clean-ups around the County.
“We are very pleased with the way that schools have embraced this hands-on effort to remind students and adults in the community that litter is harmful and they can take a stand to directly help protect our waterways and their neighborhoods,” Kamenetz said. “We are expanding the timeframe of the program for this current school year to encourage litter clean-ups from the fall through the spring and engage even more people in this anti-litter initiative.”
Through this program, BCPS schools and their community supporters conducted quick 15-minute litter clean-ups and competed this past spring to see which school communities could log the most clean-ups. Community groups could include 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.
“The Clean Green 15 challenge has really engaged Team BCPS and emphasized the importance of personal action to help ensure a clean environment,” said BCPS Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance. “Congratulations to all the schools and students who really demonstrated their pride in beautifying their schools and communities.”
Clean Green 15 Results: Tons of Litter Collected, Thousands of Grant Dollars Distributed to Schools!
The 2015 program resulted in 324 clean-ups conducted by 3,356 volunteers who picked up 3,456 bags of trash plus many tons of bulk trash items from parks, streambanks, schoolyards and other locations all around Baltimore County.
Clean Green 15 Winning Schools – 2015
# of Volunteers
Bear Creek Elementary School
1st Place ES
Charlesmont Elementary School
2nd Place ES
Reisterstown Elementary School
1st Place MS
Sparrows Point Middle School
2nd Place MS
Ridgely Middle School
1st Place HS
Western School of Technology and Environmental Science
2nd Place HS
Chesapeake High School
Kicking Off this Year’s Expanded Clean Green 15 Initiative
Today’s awards ceremony also served as the kick-off for an expanded effort for the 2015-2016 school year. Timmy Ruppersberger, who is President of the Education Foundation for Baltimore County, announced that instead of just including springtime litter clean-ups, this year’s program begins on October 1 and will run through mid-April. This expanded timeframe is intended to increase participation and promote clean-ups year-round.
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. Second place schools from each level were awarded a web-enabled iPad.
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 Maryland Environmental Service and Sparrows Point Terminal.
“I applaud the students and community members who went all out to help make a real difference in keeping litter out of our communities and waterways,” said Baltimore County Council Chair Cathy Bevins.
Kristi Pilarski, Adopt-A-Road Coordinator, Bureau of Highways
Cigarette butts, soda cans and other trash you may see along the road is not just unsightly, but it can get washed down into storm drains during a heavy rain, wash into our waterways and pollute recreational water areas, drinking water supplies, and eventually, the Chesapeake Bay. This is why Adopt-A-Road is one of our solutions for the environment and your community.
You can see our green and white Adopt-A-Road signs all around Baltimore County, showing community support for a Clean, Green Baltimore County. It is easy to join the Adopt-A-Road program. A group makes a commitment to pick up roadside litter just four times per year for at least two years.
We receive support from the community from all types of adopters. Adopters include civic and non-profit organizations, school groups, commercial and private enterprises, families and individuals. We have adopters of all ages, the youngest being 12 years old. I am always looking for new adopters, individuals or groups, to help grow the Adopt-A-Road program.
This program is a great service project for all sorts of groups, and especially helpful for high school students who need community service hours to graduate. It’s a nice way for families to come together to show support for their neighborhood. One of our newest groups, a motorcycle club, even made participation in Adopt-A-Road a prerequisite to joining their club.
Our Adopt-A-Road program started twenty years ago and had much success in the past. I am hoping to continue to make it successful and grow the program, so we can help keep Baltimore County’s roads clean.
I try to keep everything simple for the adopter. Once the application is approved, I give the safety training to the coordinator or to the entire group. At that time, I supply the group with all the supplies needed for the cleanups. We supply the trash bags, pickers, gloves, signs and the safety vests. Each group receives an Adopt-A-Road sign at their adopted road location and we will collect the trash bags after each clean up.
If you would be interested in the Adopt-A-Road program, I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-887-3560.
Janette Harris, Adopt-A-Road Coordinator
Bureau of Highways
My favorite road signs sometimes get lost in the clutter of billboards and stop signs and No Parking signs. But a lot of people do notice them because Adopt-a-Road signs mean something nice. They mean that roadsides are being kept neat and clean by people who care. This is important for maintaining good communities in Baltimore County and a rewarding part of my job in the Department of Public Works. You see, I’m the Adopt-A-Road-lady!
The Adopt-A-Road program began almost twenty years ago and has grown steadily. In the first years from its inception, 65 groups from all over the County had signed up to pick up trash along roads and help Bureau of Highways get the job done. We never lost the momentum and today 365 roads have been adopted by a wide variety of public-spirited organizations: schools, church groups, civic organizations – just about anybody who wants to make a difference.
It’s easy to join the Adopt-A-Road program. A group must make the commitment to pick up roadside trash on a regular basis and to abide by a few, simple safety rules. My program gives people an opportunity to help maintain their community by authorizing them to clean up certain streets. It also gives high school students some of the community service time needed to graduate.
Groups apply to participate – the paperwork is simple. Then we give them safety training and hand over basic cleanup equipment with a set of rules to follow. Groups must clean up the area at least four times a year and, of course, everyone must follow all safety rules. Safety is job one! The adoption period lasts two years, but it’s renewable.
In exchange for committing their time, the Bureau of Traffic Engineering puts up a sign announcing that a particular road has been adopted by the organization, and the County provides and collects the trash bags.
The Adopt-A-Road program costs taxpayers very little. In fact, it comes out to less than fifteen dollars a road. For the price of a few of cups of coffee, everyone benefits. Such a deal!