A social cultural program linking American & Dutch students
Trash serves as the theme for a cross-cultural Sister City virtual exchange between schools in Baltimore (USA) and Rotterdam (the Netherlands). Students research trash topics and recycling strategies and make presentations to share with their counterparts overseas. They are inspired to reduce litter and increase recycling in their communities while learning about each other’s cultures. Several editions of the exchange program have been held over the past years between schools in the Baltimore and Rotterdam regions.
The Baltimore-Rotterdam Sister City Committee (BRSCC) is planning an edition of this exchange program during the 2022 spring semester for Baltimore and Rotterdam area schools. The program is designed for middle school students, grades 7 or 8, referred to as ‘1st and 2nd year classes’ in Dutch high schools. This edition of the exchange takes place February to April, 2022.
Rotterdam-based, American born theatre artist and educator Kathie diStefano visits Baltimore region each semester. She had intended to visit Baltimore in 2020 but travel for cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.
About this event
Seagull Mama — A Performance Piece about Trash and Recycling
Performed by theatre artist & educator Kathie diStefano from Rotterdam’s Avalanche Arts.
This interactive show takes young audience members on a journey through the eyes of a seagull mamma who mistakes trash for fish while hunting for food for her young. How do our waterways get so polluted with plastic trash? The term ‘plastic soup’ is introduced; lakes, rivers, and seas that have so much plastic trash that no fish can live there.
Kathie diStefano from Rotterdam’s Avalanche Arts (Stichting Lawine) is now part of the artist roster at Young Audiences Arts for Learning, Maryland!
Maryland public schools can sign up on the Young Audiences website to schedule the “Seagull Mama” performance this semester or in the future, for kids in kindergarten through grade 2. Young Audiences can provide subsidies to reduce the cost of the performance.
This interactive show takes young audience members on a journey through the eyes of a seagull mamma who mistakes trash for fish while hunting for food for her young. How do our waterways get so polluted with plastic trash? The term ‘plastic soup’ is introduced; lakes, rivers, and seas that have so much plastic trash that no fish can live there. This presentation also uses physical theatre techniques to provide comic relief. Learning through laughter is Ms. Kathie’s favorite way of introducing theatre to young audience members while sharing important social messages. In the show finale, Ms. Kathie teaches the audience a Dutch song from the country she immigrated to 35 years ago.
Arts educational programs about trash, recycling, and environmental stewardship
Baltimore-Rotterdam Sister City Committee supports educational activities for kids in Baltimore & Rotterdam to make them aware of trash pollution and how they can help solve it. The activities are designed & coordinated by Kathie diStefano from Rotterdam-based Avalanche Arts (Stichting Lawine).
Left: Avalanche Arts’ Kathie diStefano teaching an “Operation Trash” workshop in a Rotterdam school. Right: Kathie diStefano conducting an environmentally-themed workshop at a school in Baltimore.
Baltimore, MD USA — May 2018
GBB (Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc.) has become a corporate sponsor of the videography portion of the Spring 2018 edition of the Baltimore-Rotterdam “Operation Trash” exchange program — a virtual exchange program that teaches sustainability, trash reduction and recycling concepts. The participating schools in Spring 2018 are Lakeland middle school in Baltimore and Het Balkon school in Maassluis, west of Rotterdam. The financial sponsorship helps cover the costs for the students at Lakeland to get guidance in creating videos to share with their counterparts across the ocean.
More info about the Spring 2018 program
A Culture and Environmental Stewardship Exchange
This is a proposed online exchange program for Fall 2018 – Spring 2019 .
We are currently seeking funding for it.
For Learn Global, Act Local, an exchange between two middle schools — one in Baltimore and one in Rotterdam — the Baltimore-Rotterdam Sister City Committee (BRSCC) is teaming up with two experienced teaching artists, one from each city, to inspire students to explore commonalities and differences in cultural characteristics and environmental issues, then share the results with their communities. This collaboration melds two successful educational programs into an even more impactful learning experience:
- Through Operation Trash, Rotterdam-based Avalanche Arts increases awareness of how our current waste disposal behavior affects our community, country and world, and how recycling plays a key role in sustainability.
- Through Baltimore Green Map’s Green Map Your Community, students gather information on the natural, cultural and “green” daily living resources that contribute to the vitality and sustainability of their neighborhoods. They create illustrated maps to share with their communities.
Operation Trash Virtual Exchange
A social cultural program linking American & Dutch students
March – May 2018
In this online exchange program, middle school students will be looking critically at their own trash behavior and how this affects their communities as well as global waste problems. Students will be asked to “think globally and act locally” to help reduce litter and increase recycling in their communities. Students will be linking up with groups in their partner school abroad to meet virtually to share information about themselves, their school and their culture. Students will share information regarding trash behavior and recycling strategies in their communities. Operation Trash exchange students will be invited to take on the role of environmental stewards for their schools and communities.