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Maryland Department of the Environment

**Social Media Release** Maryland Department of the Environment awards Grand Prize for “Beautiful Bird” at “Rethink Recycling” Contest


Jay Apperson
Adrienne Diaczok

(410) 537-3003


**Social Media Release** Maryland Department of the Environment awards Grand Prize for “Beautiful Bird” at “Rethink Recycling” Contest

Annual contest promotes recycling and creativity among high school students 

BALTIMORE, MD (November 14, 2014) – The Maryland Department of the Environment today awarded prizes for artwork depicting a parrot, a garden commode and a rockin’ guitar – all made from reused materials – at the 13th annual “Rethink Recycling” Sculpture Contest, hosted by MDE.

The contest challenges Maryland high school students to use recycled materials to create artistic and innovative sculptures.

Sixty-five entries from 23 high schools across the State were on display. Sponsors including Giant Food, Can Manufacturers Institute, the American Cleaning Institute, Maryland Recycling Network, Call2Recycle and Sims Recycling Solutions donated prizes, funding and refreshments for this year’s contest.

Contest judges tasked with determining the winners of the contest based on creativity, use of materials, and workmanship included: Jenna Rayman, former sculpture contest winner and current student at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA); Valerie Androutsopoulos, owner of Vangel Recycling; and Jenny Day, Director of Recycling, Can Manufacturers Institute.



Since 2001, MDE has celebrated America Recycles Day by hosting the annual “Rethink Recycling” Sculpture Contest. High school students from across Maryland are invited to participate by creating sculptures made of recycled and reusable materials. “Rethink Recycling” is just one way MDE educates and empowers the public to reuse and recycle materials that would have otherwise gone into landfills. To find out what you can do to reduce, reuse, recycle and buy recycled products, visit MDE’s recycling web page.

America Recycles Day, traditionally celebrated on November 15, is a national event that unites business, environmental and civic groups, and local, state, and federal government agencies to promote recycling, source reduction and the purchase of products made from recycled materials as a means to a more sustainable society.


Michalea Ballistreri from C. Milton Wright High School in Harford County was the Grand Prize Winner for her “Beautiful Bird,” a sculpture made from soda cans, styrofoam, buttons and CD’s.   She received an iPad for her efforts.

The category winners, who each received a Galaxy Tablet, were:

  • Creativity: Molly Browning, Southern Garrett High School, Garrett County, for her “Tribute to the King of the Jungle,” a gorilla sculpture created using electrical cords, aluminum cans, computer parts and plastic bags.
  • Workmanship: Basia Syski, Mount de Sales Academy, Baltimore County, for creating “The Circle of Life,” a sculpture made using cardboard and fabric.
  • Use of Materials: Carly Ellis, Century High School, Carroll County, for “Shoes,” a pair of boots with personality — the sculpture was made with gloves, moss and thyme.
  • People’s Choice Category: John Young, Liberty High School, Carroll County, for creating “Untitled,” a depiction of a guitar and amplifier made from records, record sleeves, cassette tapes and wire.

The runners up, who each received refurbished laptops donated by sponsor, Sims Recycling Solutions, were:

  • Creativity:Allie Shedieski, C. Milton Wright High School, Harford County, for “Hector.” The trojan prince was created using metal and cardboard.
  • Workmanship:Josh Zuckerman-Erd, Jemicy Upper School, Baltimore County, for creating “The Woody SpinCycle 2.0,” made from wood, metal and old bicycle parts.
  • Use of Materials:Maura McCann, Southern Garrett High School, Garrett County, for constructing “Maryland’s Beauty — Black Eyed Susans,” with plastic, hangers, glass, coffee grounds and egg crates.
  • People’s Choice:Summer Judd, Northwestern High School, Baltimore City, for “Overflow,” a garden growing out of an old commode, using water bottles and paper.


“Through their recycling and waste reduction efforts, Maryland citizens have cut the amount of waste going into landfills and incinerators by over 43 percent last year. Not only does this reduce the need for landfills, it also saves enough energy to power half a million homes or 1.3 million cars for a year. This is a wonderful accomplishment, but we must continue to seek ways to further reduce our waste. Recycling protects and conserves our precious natural resources and it saves money. It is up to all of us to work together to recycle, reuse and reduce whenever possible.”


  • Robert M. Summers, Secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment

“As a part of the cleaning product industry’s commitment to sustainability, the American Cleaning Institute is proud to help showcase creative ways to promote recycling. That’s why ACI is a longtime supporter of the MDE’s Rethink Recycling contest. We congratulate the young artists from all over Maryland who are helping to remind us how important it is for everyone to recycle.”


  • Brian Sansoni, ACI Vice President, Sustainability Initiatives

“Sims Recycling Solutions is honored to have the opportunity to once again support this wonderful community event. It’s exciting to see so many students actively involved in raising recycling awareness.”


  • Paul Wortman, Sims Recycling Solutions

“ It is exciting to see how the tremendous creativity and imagination abounds as Maryland students, reduce, reuse and rethink recyclable materials into unique repurposed sculptures.”


  • Jenny Day, Director of Recycling, Can Manufacturers Institute


See images from today’s event on MDE’s Flickr Page.


Our mission is to protect and restore the quality of Maryland’s air, water and land resources, while fostering smart growth, a thriving and sustainable economy and healthy communities.

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