Summer learning can be exciting for teachers who participate in Expeditionary Learning tours. In Part 1 of Expeditionary Learning visits Essex, their visit to Diamond Point’s trash boom was briefly reviewed.
During their visit, Back River Restoration Committee (BRRC) representatives explained their efforts to involve schools in tree plantings and shoreline clean-ups, as well as the difference this has made. Brian Schilpp, BRRC Managing Director, explained that last year volunteers and the Summer Crew had heavy-duty, hand-on cleaning-up due to years of accumulation of debris and trash. This year, the work has been more boring and tedious as the crew picked up thousands of plastic bottles, the never-ending arrival of tires, and lots of small trash.
Schilpp also described BRRC’s first Trash Art adventure with overwhelming participation by local art teachers from middle school to college in the Trash Art Show. The event was held in May as a fundraiser to help fund the summer crew program as well as other BRRC activities. The event showed the variety of ways BRRC is incorporating student involvement while raising their awareness. The participants of the Maryland Institute of College of Art, who participated in the Walnut Point clean-up, agreed to convert recovered items into objects of art for the Trash Art Show. This elicited many positive comments from the participating Expeditionary Learning (EL) teachers.
Famed sculptor, Jim Pollock helped promote MICA’s participation in the Trash Art event, while he also recovered several metal pieces that became sculptures. He gave encouragement and assistance to the participating college professors and their students. The EL teachers made notes to include this out-of-the-box way of engaging their students in the coming school year.
The EL group had numerous questions about the never-ending stream of trash and debris from the upstream feed from Baltimore City. The frustration of this situation was discussed. The Department of Environmental Protection and Management (DEPRM) representative explained the recent “Trash Treaty” that was signed by local politicians and Baltimore County staff. It was explained that plans are being negotiated to take that Treaty to our Baltimore City counter-parts in an effort to control or reduce the continuous downstream flow polluting Back River and ultimately the Bay. Ironically during this portion of the lecture, a tire and plastic bottle came floating downstream, physical real-time proof of the never-ending problem.
It was pointed out to the teachers that the BRRC Summer Crew had cleaned the trash boom that morning between 8 and 9 AM. The group was able to note how much new debris had accumulated in the 90 minute span following the crew’s clean-up efforts.(See trash boom picture)
In Part 3, more of BRRC’s activities and accomplishments will be discussed.
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