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Maryland Department of the Environment

MDE honors student artists at 21st Annual ‘Rethink Recycling’ Sculpture Contest

MDE honors student artists at 21st Annual ‘Rethink Recycling’ Sculpture Contest
Suitland High’s Jones wins top prize; Annual awards promote recycling, creativity among students

BALTIMORE, MD (November 18, 2022) – Samadhi Aurelia Jones, a student at Suitland High School in Prince George’s County, won the grand prize of an iPad and digital pencil and one-year family membership to Baltimore Museum of Art on Friday at the Maryland Department of the Environment’s 21st annual “Rethink Recycling” Sculpture Contest at Montgomery Park in Baltimore City.

The winning entry was entitled “Lyngbakr”  and was made from water bottles, cardboard, trash bags, paper, tape, wire, a metal beam from a cable reel, pearl beads from hair clips and moss.  Students from Carroll, Garrett and Harford counties won the top prizes in four other categories.

This year, 60 entries from 16 high schools in 11 counties were on display. All the students made their sculptures from reused materials.

“Like every year, the quality of this year’s sculptures by our student artists from around the state is exceptional,” said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Horacio Tablada. “Our most recent data shows that Maryland achieved an annual waste diversion rate of nearly 43 percent, 10 percentage points above the national average for states. This surpasses our voluntary 40 percent waste diversion goal for the state of Maryland for the eleventh straight year.” 

The category first-place winners, who each received Beats Fit Pro Earbuds and two passes to the National Aquarium, were:

Creativity: Aubrey Hunsinger, C. Milton Wright High School, Harford County, for “Money for Surprises,”  which was made of cardboard, tape and bottles. 

Workmanship: Bayleigh Hawk, Southern Garrett High School, Garrett County, for “The Hawk,” which was made from soda cans and tabs, cardboard, bottle and marbles 

Use of Materials: Hayley Boone, South Carroll High School, Carroll County, for “Sir Salvage,” which was made from paper mache, plastic spoons, plastic containers, guitar, scrap fabric, curtain, bracelets, necklaces and brooches.

People’s Choice: Lili White, South Carroll High School, Carroll County, for “Oneirataxta,” which was made from compact discs, basket fibers, tissue paper, fabric and TV 

The second-place winners in each category, who received $100 Amazon gift cards and two passes to the National Aquarium, were:

Creativity: Margaret Mullin, Broadneck High School, Anne Arundel County, for “Trashing our Planet,” which was made from cardboard, newspaper and trash

Workmanship: Carter Sharpe, Walkersville High School, Frederick County, for “The Scrap Dragon,”  which was made from cardboard and fishing wire

Use of Materials: Gage Osborne, Northwest High School, Montgomery County, for “The Rusty Crab,” which was made from a water pump, brake lines, scrap metal and river debris

People’s Choice: Kimberly Perez Toro, Suitland High School, Prince George’s County, for “Taming the Beast,” which was made from paper mache, shredded paper paste and C-PAP mask strap 

To see photos of the winning entries, click here:

Sponsors of the event were the American Cleaning Institute; Maryland Recycling Network; Maryland, Delaware, D.C. Beverage Association; Waste Management; The National Aquarium; Baltimore Museum of Art; and Berger’s. Sponsors donated prizes, funding and refreshments for this year’s contest.

“Cleaning product manufacturers are more committed than ever to ‘closing the loop’ on product recycling. That’s why the American Cleaning Institute released a new cleaning product package recycling guide for consumers to keep recyclable materials out of the landfill,” said Nathan Sell, Senior Director of Sustainability, at the American Cleaning Institute. “We’re happy to strongly support students’ creative artwork that helps shine the light on the need for enhanced recycling efforts throughout Maryland and across the nation.”  
“The local beverage companies are proud to continue our support of the “Rethink Recycling” sculpture contest. Each year the sculptures continue to amaze both in creativity and in the recognition of the importance of recycling,” said Ellen Valentino, President, MD-DE-DC Beverage Association.
Contest judges were: John Lewis, curator, writer and former teacher at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA); Chelsea Anspach, communications manager for the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore; Deirdre Ford-Aikin, owner of York and Penn Public Art Gallery and Triple Crown Towson; and Kaley Laleker, director of the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Land and Materials Administration.

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. The competition 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. The department’s mission is to protect and restore the environment for the health and well-being of all Marylanders.

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