Dozens of sculptures made from recycled materials created by Carroll County high school students were on display late last month at the county’s second annual environmental symposium at the Carroll County Agriculture Center in Westminster.
Ashlynn Kief, a junior at Manchester Valley High School, won first place in the recycled art contest for her creation called “Second Chances,” earning her a pair of Beats headphones. She also won the Student Engagement award and received a $1,000 scholarship from Spot-On Engineering Solutions.
Century High School senior Joshua Myrick-Whittaker created a life-size Bigfoot sculpture out of cardboard and a used blanket and won second place in the competition,
Myrick-Whittaker, 18, of Sykesville, said participating in the competition is a great creative outlet for him. As a second-place winner, he earned a four-pack of movie tickets and snacks.
“I feel like there’s always been some part of me making old stuff new,” Myrick-Whittaker said. “I’ve always liked the idea of fixing up old stuff.”
Christopher Heyn, director of the Carroll County Department of Planning and Land Management, said the contest has been a great way to stoke interest in environmental programs from students and families.
Heyn’s department organizes the annual competition with the Board of County Commissioners. The symposium functions as a way for local environmental groups to meet, learn about government support and initiatives and discover projects that will benefit from collaboration.
Myrick-Whittaker said it is fascinating to see the recycled-material sculptures created by his peers on display at the symposium. “Everyone did such a good job.”
A dragon made from mostly recycled paper and cardboard, created by Winters Mill High School sophomore Emily Upham, 15, of Westminster, won third place in the competition, earning a two-pack of movie tickets and snacks.
“It was fun exploring ways to create things out of paper,” Upham said.
Upham scoured her household recycling bins for materials and inspiration in creating the dragon sculpture. The framework of the piece was crafted out of cardboard, Upham said, with paper added for color and texture, and hot glue to hold everything together.
Upham said it makes sense for her to make art from recycled materials, even when it is not required.
“I’m usually using a lot of stuff we have lying around the house,” Upham said, “because I don’t have a lot of money to buy new materials.”
Upham chose to make a dragon to challenge herself, and said she enjoyed learning how to build a body structure.
“I found it fun to do,” Upham said, “and nice to help the community.”
Myrick-Whittaker said participating in the competition is a great creative outlet for him. As second-place winner, he earned a four-pack of movie tickets and snacks.
Myrick-Whittaker set out to create something large and emblematic of nature. He used unwanted cardboard from his job at a High’s gas station and convenience store in Sykesville to make the sculpture. The student designed his Bigfoot sculpture using computer software and spent about 180 hours working on the project, including the time it took for glue to dry, he said.
All art contest participants received 10 service-learning hours, a portable power bank and a shirt. Heyn said prizes were provided by the Carroll County Environmental Advocacy Council, which advises county commissioners on environmental issues.
“Learning about recycled processes and what can be done from a recycle-and-reuse perspective is a great learning experience for students,” Heyn said, “and so we very much [try] to encourage that activity. This is a great way to showcase not only the environmental side of recycling and reuse, but also the artistic creativity that a lot of our students have, so it’s a benefit all around.”
Carroll County Daily Headlines
The EAC presents awards biennially to individuals and groups for endeavors and projects that benefit the environment and have the potential for long-term community environmental benefit in each of three categories: Student Engagement, Educational Outreach, and Positive Practices. Patrick Grundy was the runner-up for the Student Engagement award and received a $500 scholarship from Atlantic Blue Water Services of Westminster.
Friends of Liberty Reservoir was the winner of the Positive Practices award. The group received a gift card and gift basket from Sun Nurseries and a gift basket from JeannieBird Baking Company. John Hubbs won the Educational Outreach award and received a gift card and gift basket from Sun Nurseries and a gift basket from JeannieBird Baking Company.