Bear Creek Elementary School takes $3,000 grand prize in county’s Clean Green 2015 program

TOWSON, MD – Everywhere inside Bear Creek Elementary School in Dundalk, it seems, is evidence of the school’s pursuit of Maryland Green School status.

There are displays in the lobby, including a “Billion Acts of Green” installation that details the environmentally-friendly things students can do. There are dozens of recycling pails that double as seats when a class goes outside to study the Bear Creek ecosystem.

The state won’t choose Green Schools for a while yet, but on Monday, Bear Creek’s green efforts paid off – thanks to support from community clean-up organizations, the school won the $3,000 grand prize award for the 2015 Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Challenge.

The school captured top honors by marshalling nearly 900 volunteers during two clean-ups that netted 13,044 pounds of trash from school grounds and in the community, enough to fill 1,203 large trash bags. Six other schools also were awarded grants and prizes for their participation in the Clean Green campaign.

“Taking care of our schools and environment is a good lesson for all of us, and the students from Bear Creek and the other Clean Green participating schools are showing everyone how it’s done,” said Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance during an awards ceremony at the Dundalk school. “Their example can and should lead the way for our other schools across Baltimore County to join the Clean Green team and work toward cleaning up litter when we see it.”

The second annual Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Challenge asked schools and their community partners to participate in litter pick-up activities of at least 15 minutes last spring. During today’s awards ceremony, Bear Creek’s students cheered as their winning clean-up activities were celebrated by Dr. Dance and County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

For the 2015 challenge, nearly two dozen BCPS schools were the beneficiaries of 324 clean-up activities, which together put 3,356 volunteers to work collecting 3,456 bags of trash totaling nearly 42,000 pounds, or 21 tons of garbage.

First and second places in the challenge took home a $2,000 grant and an iPad, respectively. On the elementary school level, Charlesmont Elementary School in Dundalk took first place followed by Reisterstown Elementary School in Reisterstown. For middle schools, Sparrows Point in Edgemere and Ridgely in Lutherville took first and second, respectively. And among high schools, Western School of Technology in Catonsville was the first place award winner, followed by Chesapeake High School in Essex.

All of the cash grants from the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools will go toward funding school-based instructional projects emphasizing the theme of environmental literacy.

Sponsors include Sparrows Point Terminal, Inc., Maryland Environmental Service, the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools, the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, and Baltimore County Public Schools.