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Maryland State Government Maryland Department of the Environment

Education and Outreach

America Recycles Day (ARD)

ARD is a national event (November 15th) that promotes recycling, source reduction and buying products made from recycled materials as objectives to a more sustainable society. In celebration of ARD, MDE has created the “Rethink Recycling” sculpture contest and judging ceremony to display students’ creativity and promote recycling.The sculpture contest and judging ceremony is a great opportunity for celebrating efforts of the student artists, for media exposure and for promoting waste prevention to the general public. The sculpture contest challenges students to innovatively and artistically use recycled materials as a solution to waste reduction.  If you would like more information about ARD, visit the America Recycles Day's web page. 

"Rethink Recycling" Sculpture Contest

2016 Sculpture Contest 

The 15th annual sculpture contest will be held on Friday, November 18, 2016, at Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) in Baltimore.  MDE would like to extend this invitation to high school students.  Two entries will be accepted from each high school (additional entries may become available later).  The contest gives students the chance to be inventive and create a sculpture made from recyclable or reused materials (see guidelines).  Judges will select an overall winning sculpture along with individual recognition for creativity, workmanship and use of materials.  Additionally, a “People’s Choice Award” is given.  Past contests received national recognition and television news airtime.  Prizes provided from corporate and non-profit organization sponsors will be awarded to all contest entrants. Past prizes have included items such as gift cards, Tablets and a Surface Pro 3.  

Space is limited so please complete the School Entry Form and fax it to 410-537-3321 or email it to, by October 14, 2016, to confirm your school’s participation.  The  Individual Entry Form(s) should be returned to MDE by November 4, 2016, once the participants are selected.

For more information regarding the "Rethink Recycling" Sculpture Contest, please contact Christy Bujnovszky at or at 410-537-4190.

2015 Sculpture Contest

The 2015 "Rethink Recycling" Sculpture Contest was held on November 13, 2015 at the Maryland Department of the Environment.  There were 60 entries from 22 different high schools from across the State featured in the contest. 

Cheyenne Reese from Walkersville High School in Frederick County was the grand prize winner for her "Neil Armstrong Jr.", using foam, bubble wrap, a fishbowl, newspaper, latex gloves, chicken wire and old shoes.  She won a Surface Pro 3 for her efforts. 

The category winners, who received a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 4 were:

  • Creativity: Janice Onigbinde, Century High School, Carroll County, for her work entitled "John",  using screws to create a portrait of a young boy.
  • Workmanship: Lainey Shruell, Century High School, Carroll County, for creating "Steampunk Deer Skull", a sculpture made of mechanical parts and hardware.
  • Use of Materials: Rosemarie AcAuliffe and Carly Blyth, Mount de Sales Academy, Baltimore County, for "Copper Lion", a sculpture created using copper wire, tennis shoes and glass test tubes.
  • People’s Choice Category: Molly Browning, Southern Garrett High School, Garrett County, for creating "Chief", a bison made using a couch cushion, bike frame, lawn chair, cardboard, pool noodles, bike helmet, leather jacket, sweater, soda cans, blinds, jewelry and a headboard.

Second place winners, who each received $100 Amazon gift cards, were:

  • Creativity: Maura McCann, Southern Garrett High School, Garrett County, for "See You Again". The butterfly was made using metal pipes, bedsprings, wood, lamp and ceiling fan parts, aluminum cans and plastic bottles.
  • Workmanship: Jasmine Tolson, Suitland High School, Prince George's  County, for creating "Rainbow Catfish", made from compact discs, DVDs and newspaper.
  • Use of Materials: Margaret Hobbs, Suitland High School, Prince George's County, for constructing "Diabetic Dragon", with soda cans and LED bulbs.
  • People's Choice: Jason Young, Archbishop Curley High School, Baltimore City, for "Catching Lunch", a sculpture of a seagull using wire, newspaper, plastic utensils, a pencil and wood.

See pictures of MDE's 2015 "Rethink Recycling" Contest 

2015 Participating Schools:

  • Anne Arundel County: Glen Burnie High School, The Harbour School
  • Baltimore City: Archbishop Curley High School, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, Bard High School Early College
  • Baltimore County: Mann Residential School, Mount de Sales Academy, Parkville High School, Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts, Randallstown High School, Redeemer Classical Christian School
  • Carroll County: Century High School, Liberty High School, South Carroll High School
  • Frederick County: Heather Ridge School, Linganore High School, Oakdale High School, Walkersville High School
  • Garrett County: Southern Garrett County High School
  • Howard County: Glenelg Country School
  • Kent County: Kent County High School
  • Prince George’s County: Suitland High School-Center for Performing Arts


In the Classroom

Some Counties offer various displays, presentations and demonstrations that travel to schools and events. Staff provides educational presentations to elementary, middle and high school students. Contact your County Coordinator to schedule a presentation.

MDE can offer educators copies of interdisciplinary activity lessons for Grades K-9. The activity lessons cover topics such as recycling, source reduction, landfills, composting, reuse, ecosystem, cycles, hazardous waste, and buy recycled. The lessons use a variety of skills and address the subjects of science, math, social studies, language arts, environmental education, art, and English. Contact MDE to receive these activities.

Recycling Websites

Recycling Websites -- for KIDS!