Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (November 10, 2008) – A great blue heron, a gorilla, a crab, and a rooster were among the winning pieces of artwork at the seventh annual “Rethink Recycling” Sculpture Contest, hosted by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). Sponsors who donated prizes, funding, and refreshments for this year’s were: the Soap & Detergent Association, the Maryland Recycling Network, Best Buy, Allied Waste Services, Sharp Electronics Corporation, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Constellation Energy, the Maryland Soft Drink Association, Sharp, Giant, and the Rehrig Pacific Company. MDE uses the art event to highlight America Recycles Day, an annual national awareness event whose mission is to “promote the social, environmental, and economic benefits of buying recycled products and recycling throughout America.”

The sculpture contest challenges Maryland high school students to innovatively and artistically use recycled materials as a solution to limit waste reduction and trash. Approximately 50 entries from 18 different high schools across the state were on display today and contained everything from records, plastic bags, old shoes, playing cards, computer parts, and more. A complete list of participating schools is at the end of the release.

“This event reflects the spirit of MDE’s mission to protect and restore Maryland’s environment, even as we support America Recycles Day,” said MDE Assistant Secretary Stephen Pattison. “Recycling and reducing waste not only helps to protect our waters and the Chesapeake Bay, but in the face of rising energy prices and global warming, recycling is more important today than ever. In addition to saving natural resources and reducing pollution, recycling saves energy and reduces greenhouses gases.”

Contest judges tasked with determining the winners of the contest based on creativity, use of materials, and workmanship included award-winning Frederick County artist Bev Reidinger, MDE Assistant Secretary Stephen Pattison, and Baltimore Examiner environmental journalist Sara Michael.

Ms. Shawn Adams’ sculpture of a Great Blue Heron sculpted from athletic shoes and scrap metal won the Grand Prize of a 32 inch Sharp LCD television. Adams is a student at Northern Garrett High School in Garrett County. The category winners, who received Sharp Ipod Docking Stations, were:

  • Creativity: Tim Miller, also of Northern Garrett High School, for a crab made from cans and cardboard. This is the second year in a row that Miller has claimed this category.
  • Workmanship: Ms. Vicki Johnson, Williamsport High School, Washington County, for a rooster made from rubber gloves, yarn, plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and PVC piping.
  • Use of Materials: Ms. Nicole Marken, South Carroll High School, Carroll County, for a hammock/beach scene made from cans, film, CDs, cards, and records.
  • First Place People’s Choice Category: Ms. Melissa Vigil, Gwynn Park High School for her flowers created from bottles, candy wrappers, paper, and metal.
  • Second Place People’s Choice Category: Ms. Zoe Spafford, South Carroll High School, Carroll County, with a gift basket from the National Aquarium in Baltimore for her gorilla made from plastic bottles and paper.

"Maryland’s local beverage companies support the "Rethink Recycling" sculpture contest because it is a great opportunity that mixes art, fun, and environmental education," said Ellen Valentino the Executive Vice President of the Maryland Beverage Association.

"We need to creatively promote and encourage recycling however and whenever we can," added Brian Sansoni, Vice President of Communication at The Soap and Detergent Association ( "Recycling is a part of the sustainability practices that are at the heart of our industry. That’s why SDA is proud to be a sponsor of Maryland’s Rethink Recycling Sculpture Contest."

The "Rethink Recycling" sculpture contest, which MDE hosts in celebration of America Recycles Day, 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 at:

America Recycles Day (ARD) 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. ARD reminds us that when it comes to recycling, “It All Comes Back to You.”

Participating High Schools

  • Anne Arundel County: Broadneck,High School, Glen Burnie High School
  • Baltimore County: Parkville High School, St. Paul’s School, St. Paul’s School for Girls
  • Calvert County: Northern High School
  • Carroll County: Century High School, South Carroll High School
  • Charles County: LaPlata High School
  • Garrett County: Northern Garrett County High School, Southern Garrett County High School
  • Harford County: C. Milton Wright High School
  • Prince George’s County: Gwynn Park High School, Suitland High School, Center for the Visual & Performing Arts
  • Washington County: Smithsburg High School, Williamsport High School


Digital images from this event are available. please contact MDE’s Office of Communications.