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Maryland First Lady Katie O'Malley Awards Grand Prize for a Hand-Stitched Replica of the American Flag at MDE's Rethink Recycling Contest Annual Contest Promotes Recycling and Creativity Among High School Students

BALTIMORE, MD (November 16, 2012) - Maryland First Lady Katie O'Malley today awarded prizes for a seven-foot high dolphin, an octopus, a life-sized “Recycling Queen,” and a hand-stitched American Flag – all made from reused materials – at the 11th 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. This year 59 entries from 23 different high schools across the State were on display. Sponsors including: Giant Food, Constellation Energy, the American Visionary Art Museum, the American Cleaning Institute, Maryland Recycling Network, Waste Management Inc., 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 environmental education specialist, artist and founder of "Trashion," Rita Mazzo Galindo, Dan Johannes of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and MDE Deputy Secretary Kathy Kinsey.

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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.

Core Facts
Todd Enis from Middletown High School in Frederick County was the Grand Prize Winner for his "American Flag," made completely from reclaimed textiles such as flannel shirts and a fur coat - all unwanted materials from Goodwill.  Enis hand-stitched much of the flag himself.  He received an iPad for his efforts.

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

  • Creativity: Andrew Pressley, Middletown High School, Frederick County, for his "Meeko the Dolphin" an over seven-foot tall dolphin made from styrofoam, soda cans and water bottles.
  • Workmanship: Serena Holmes, Suitland High School, Prince Georege's County, for creating "Stanley," a larger-than-life octopus with chicken wire, cloth, surgical gauze, dowel rods, paper mache, marbles, lights and bottle tops.
  • Use of Materials: Dakota Wassel, Northern Garrett High School, Garrett County, for "Phunny Pharm, " a sculpture of a farmer and his dog using metal, aluminum, tin, bike chain, wire and a rake. 
  • People’s Choice Category: Kaitlyn Ball, Walkersville High School, Frederick County, for crafting "Artist's Life," a painter's canvas made from ceramic tiles, reclaimed textiles and metal.

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

  • Creativity: Brittany Buck, Walkersville High School, Frederick County, for her creating a life-sized doll dubbed the “Recycling Queen” made of water bottles, wire, cardboard, compact discs, newspaper, plastic wrap, milk jugs, latex gloves, foil and bottle caps.
  • Workmanship: Katie Jones, Middletown High School, Frederick County, for crafting her "Birds of a Feather," made from soda cans, styrofoam cups, water bottles, paper towel rolls and wire.
  • Use of Materials: Dallas Hetrick, Northern Garrett High School, Garrett County, for constructing "Hubris ex Machina," with metal, batteries, cardboard, paper, chicken wire, textiles, bottle caps, trash bags and steel.
  • People's Choice: Jillian Yant, Southern Garrett High School, Garrett County, for "Flight of the Butterfly" a tree and flying butterfly made of metal, cork, aluminum cans, cardboard, plastic bottles, magazines, copper and light bulbs.

"By recycling, reducing and reusing whenever possible, we can all play an important role in keeping Maryland a beautiful and healthy place to live for generations to come."

--Katie O'Malley, First Lady of Maryland

“Under the leadership of Governor O’Malley and with the cooperation of all of our citizens, Maryland was able to divert more than 40 percent of our waste from landfills and incinerators in 2010.  This is a wonderful accomplishment, but we must do more.  Recycling protects and conserves our precious natural resources.  It is up to all of us to work together to recycle, reuse and reduce whenever possible.”

--Kathy Kinsey, Deputy Secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment

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View more photos from today's event on MDE's Flickr site


Samantha Kappalman

Jay Apperson

(410) 537-3003 ​

MDE Mission
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.