First Years Spraypaint Drains to Prevent Pollution

Left to Right: Andrew Ackerman, Oliver Dillard, Luke DeWitt, Jolie Price, Erica Bulzomi, and Brady O’Neill Photo Credit: Dr. Cynthia Kicklighter

Earlier this semester, you might have seen groups of people huddling around storm drains, gazing intensely at the pavement. This was probably Dr. Cynthia Kicklighter’s First Year Seminar (FYS). They are learning about marine organisms, and what impacts marine environments. One of the topics they are covering is trash pollution in the ocean, and how trash travels into waterways through storm drains. This trash affects our drinking water, pollutes our oceans, and affects marine life.
In the Towson/Baltimore area, all water entering storm drains eventually arrives at the Chesapeake Bay. Because plastic cannot be digested and it can entangle marine organisms like fish and turtles, plastic trash (like grocery bags, snack bags, etc) is particularly harmful.
In order to educate people on campus about this danger and the fact that all trash from our storm drains will end up in the Chesapeake, Dr. Kicklighter learned how to stencil a storm drain. The training was organized Blue Water Baltimore, an environmental charity focused on restoring the quality of Baltimore’s aquatic systems. She then transferred what she had learned from the organization to her First Year Seminar students, who, in the middle of the semester, spray painted stencils of marine life around the storm drains on campus.
“It was freezing outside,” wrote Jillian Carsud (‘19). But the “hands-on experience” was enjoyable.
Jolie Price (‘19) agreed. “I liked the actual ‘doing’ aspect of spreading awareness instead of just talking about it in class,” she wrote. Both students hoped that their project would cause passersby to pause and consider the stencils, increasing awareness about where our trash goes and who it affects.

Madeline is an English/Spanish double major. She grew up in Hawai'i (no, she doesn't surf) and is happy to experience life on the opposite side of the U.S.. She is immensely glad to be part of the Q and proud of everyone who makes it run. You've probably seen her behind the library help desk in the Ath. Next time you do, please say hi.

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