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Keyword: school

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 a woman receiving a flu shotDella J. Leister, R.N.
Deputy Health Officer, Baltimore County Department of Health

When you think about fall, what comes to mind - colorful leaves, cooler temperatures, getting a flu shot?  For those of us at the Baltimore County Department of Health, fall is the time when we promote the importance of getting vaccinated to prevent the spread of flu.

The best way to prevent the flu is by knowing the flu FACTS.

Frequently wash your hands.

Washing hands with soap and water at for 20-30 seconds is the best form of protection to reduce the spread of germs.  If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Always get an annual flu shot.

Flu viruses are always changing, last season’s flu vaccine may not protect against newer viruses, and an annual vaccination is the only way to maintain protection each season.

Cover your cough and sneezes.       

Use a tissue to cover your coughs and sneezes; then throw it away.  If you do not have a tissue, cough and sneeze into the crease of your arm (elbow area) to prevent your droplets from spreading. Never cough or sneeze into your hands. 

Take time off from school, work, and social activities if you have symptoms.

People who have the flu often have these symptoms:

·         Fever or feeling feverish/chills

·         Cough

·         Sore throat

·         Runny or stuffy nose

·         Muscle or body aches

·         Headaches

·         Fatigue (tiredness)

Seek medical care if your symptoms get worse.

If your condition does not improve after taking over-the-counter medication to alleviate symptoms, and then call you doctor.

If you are looking to “stay in the game,” then plan to get flu shot. The Baltimore County Department will offer free flu shots on Saturday, October 25 from 9 a.m. to noon at seven locations across the county. For more information, go to or call 410-887-BCHD (2243).

Blake Lubinski, Communications Intern, Baltimore County Public Schools

Long before the schoolhouse doors open for a new year, preparations begin for 10 months of teaching and learning. From classroom housekeeping and lesson planning to summer reading and supplies shopping, educators and students are thoroughly involved in back-to-school season.

But what about you? Does back to school involve you, too? According to Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS), it does!

From now until the end of October, BCPS invites you to gear up for the new school year through its “Back to School Involves You, Too!” campaign. Including special workshops open to the community through the school system’s Parent University, back-to-school programming airing on the school system’s television station and contests beginning after the first day of school, the campaign also offers opportunities for Baltimore County residents to become active members of Team BCPS.

To start, visit the “Back to School Involves You, Too!” webpage on the BCPS website to download and print one of three 8.5-by-11-inch signs welcoming the students back and wishing them a great school year. Then, on Wednesday, August 27, the first day of school for BCPS students, take a photograph of the sign posted in your community or held by your BCPS student. The best photographs submitted to or received through Facebook or Twitter (@BaltCoPS, #BCPSfirstday) will appear on the BCPS website or Flickr page.

What’s more, when back-to-school season ends later this fall, Baltimore County residents can remain active Team BCPS members throughout the school year by attending school events, becoming business partners, offering internships to BCPS students and volunteering at their local schools. And, to stay up-to-date on school system happenings all year long, Baltimore County community members can download the BCPS Now app, follow the BCPS Deliberate Excellence blog and subscribe to the weekly BCPS e-newsletter.

Back-to-school season comes once a year, but BCPS students prepare every day to become Baltimore County’s future citizens and workforce. Help the students with their preparations by following the first rule of back to school: be involved!

To learn please visit “Back to School Involves You, Too!” and Team BCPS.

Revised September 26, 2016