Baltimore, MD USA — September 2016
MECU Foundation Inc. has awarded Baltimore Sister Cities, Inc. a $3,000 grant to support sister cities educational projects. The grant goes towards several projects, including the Baltimore-Rotterdam “Operation Trash” exchange project with Bard High School Early College Baltimore and Benjamin Franklin High School and several schools in the Netherlands in spring 2017, to create a virtual exchange and social digital platform to teach sustainability, trash reduction and recycling concepts.
Baltimore, MD USA — July 17, 2016
CSX has provided a $1,000 grant to Rotterdam’s Avalanche Arts via Baltimore-Rotterdam Sister Cities for the “Operation Trash” exchange project in spring 2017 designed to educate high school students at Baltimore’s Benjamin Franklin High School (BFHS) and connect them with Wolfert van Borselen high school in the Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Improvisational theatre techniques and remote learning techniques will be used to teach students about sustainability, trash reduction, recycling, and to inspire them to become environment stewards for their communities.
The Netherlands chapter of the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) has awarded a grant to Rotterdam theatre artist/educator Kathie diStefano, Avalanche Arts (Stichting Lawine), to link students in Baltimore with Dutch high school students in the greater Rotterdam area. This ‘Pen Pal Project’ will use social media to build awareness for environmental issues in both countries.
Participants will begin by 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 in the two cities will share stories and compare findings regarding trash problems and recycling challenges in Dutch and American neighborhoods.
The Baltimore-Rotterdam Pen Pal Project builds on a pilot exchange completed in 2015 with Baltimore’s Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center and a school near Rotterdam, and on previous environmentally-themed art educational projects with children and community residents in the Baybrook area of Baltimore and Heijplaat area of Rotterdam, completed by Avalanche Arts in collaboration with Baltimore artist/educator Stephen Bradley.
The Baltimore-Rotterdam Sister City Committee (a member of the Baltimore Sister Cities 501(c)(3) association), supports these exchanges. Baltimore and Rotterdam have been sister cities since 1985. The committee encourages engagement between the two cities to creatively learn, work, and solve problems together through reciprocal exchanges and projects.