Winners of Clean green Litter Challenge Announced as New Challenge Kicks Off

The winners of the Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge were announced on Tuesday morning, with multiple east side schools getting recognized — and rewarded — for their efforts to beautify their communities.
For the last five years, schools around the county have partaken in the challenge, with upwards of $3,000 being awarded to grand prize winners. The money is to be used within the year for instructional projects emphasizing environmental literacy.

For the challenge, students work in 15-minute bursts to collect litter. Some schools, like grand prize winner General John Stricker Elementary, team up with area groups like Clean Bread and Cheese Creek to tackle the challenge. Other schools, like Parkville Middle School, predominantly handle the work in-house.

Kristina Eckhardt and Sara Mullin oversee the “green team” at Parkville Middle, which was started two years ago. They have since been certified as a green school by the state. “We’ve done a lot,” said Mullin. “We sold tomato plants last year at our STEAM night and grew them over the summer.” This year they plan to focus on composting and building a butterfly garden, which would be the perfect projects for their $1,500 grant to be allocated. “The budget for the butterfly garden is pretty extensive,” said Eckhardt. “We’ve been waiting for something like this to come along.”

Aside from General John Stricker and Parkville Middle, other area winners receiving $1,500 grants include Chesapeake Terrace Elementary and Battle Monument School. Bear Creek Elementary, Edgemere Elementary and Perry Hall Middle School all received iPads for their efforts.

Councilwoman Cathy Bevins (D-6) stressed the importance of this initiative for the east side in particular. “Our watershed comes all the way out to Harford Road, so every piece of paper, every water bottle, every cigarette butt, everything that hits the ground eventually goes to the rivers, and those rivers lead to the bay,” said Bevins, thanking the students for participating.

The 2018 program resulted in 338 cleanups conducted by 5,057 volunteers who picked up 3,741 bags of litter.