TOWSON, MD— Baltimore County’s land and waterways are significantly cleaner this year thanks to those who generously volunteered their time for the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge. More than 5,200 student and community volunteers and 63 schools participated in 456 litter cleanups throughout Baltimore County during 2021-2022, making this a record year for the annual challenge.
The challenge, a joint program of the Office of Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) and the Education Foundation of BCPS, is designed to actively engage students and community members in removing litter before it can wash into local tributaries and the Chesapeake Bay.
County Executive Johnny Olszewski, BCPS’ Chief of Schools Dr. Michael Zarchin and Debbie Phelps, Executive Director of the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools, honored participants at a rooftop garden awards ceremony on Friday at Colgate Elementary School in Dundalk.
“It is clear that the environment is a priority for our young people and I am grateful for the hard work our volunteers put in to make Baltimore County cleaner and greener,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “The more than $24,000 in prize funds awarded to schools for STEM and environmental projects are sure to have a lasting impact on students for years to come.”
“Every year, Baltimore County’s school students and community partners show how much they care about their schools, their neighborhoods, and their world by participating in the Clean Green 15 initiative,” said Dr. Michael Zarchin, Chief of Schools for BCPS. “It is beyond impressive to see the results of their work and stewardship; together, they, their teachers, and schools have made a big difference in keeping Baltimore County clean, green, and healthy.”
Clean Green 15 Results: Tons of Litter Collected, $24,500 Distributed to Schools
Through the litter challenge, BCPS schools and their community supporters competed from May 2021 through April 2022 to see which school communities could log the most litter cleanups, small or large. The program is open to any group, including school-based groups, places of worship, youth groups, civic or community groups, scout troops, sports teams, businesses or other organizations, that wish to help clean up their community. Groups are asked to report their cleanups on the BCPS website and designate a school to receive credit toward the grant competition.
The school year 2021-2022 program resulted in 456 clean-ups conducted with 5,211 volunteer sessions where volunteers filled 2,579 bags with trash that would have wound up in our streams and the Bay. The program achieved a significant increase in the number of participating schools since last year – a 41 percent increase from 37 schools to 63 schools.
The Education Foundation of Baltimore County awarded grants to the top 12 winning schools to fund school-based instructional projects emphasizing the theme of environmental literacy. Examples could include such projects as installing a reading garden or rain garden, planting trees, diverting downspouts and environmental education projects. The Foundation awarded $500 to support purchasing STEM supplies and equipment to each of seven schools that won Honorable Mention awards.
Next Year’s Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge is Underway
In addition to awarding prizes to the winning schools from this year, officials also promoted participation in next year’s Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter, with groups eligible to log cleanups from May 1, 2022 through April 30, 2023 for consideration in the next awards cycle.
Clean Green Collaboration
This is the ninth year for the challenge, which is a collaboration of Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, Baltimore County Public Schools, and the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools.
Winning Schools –School Year 2021-2022
Grand Prize- Cleanup Results
Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts
Grand Prize – Volunteers
Colgate Elementary School
Battle Monument School
High School – 1st
Dulaney High School
High School – 2nd
Franklin High School
High School – 3rd
Sparrows Point High School
Middle School – 1st
Ridgely Middle School
Middle School – 2nd
Perry Hall Middle School
Middle School – 3rd
Arbutus Middle School
Elementary School – 1st
Charlesmont Elementary School
Elementary School – 2nd
Hebbville Elementary School
Elementary School – 3rd
Cromwell Valley Elementary Magnet School
Bear Creek Elementary School
Golden Ring Middle School
Church Lane Technology Elementary School
Carney Elementary School
Grange Elementary School
Rodgers Forge Elementary School
Seven Oaks Elementary School\