Avalanche Arts and the BRSCC have been collaborating since 2011. Starting with Harbor Traces, a cultural exploration. Since then Avalanche Arts has visited Baltimore regularly with workshops and performances.
Avalanche Arts Teams up with Baltimore City  
From February 25 – March 1st Baltimore City’s Department of Public Works (DPW) and Avalanche Arts, led by Kathie diStefano, continued to work on their collaboration designed to teach trash management and build recycling awareness. Avalanche Arts has been working on this theme full time for over 10 years in Rotterdam, as well as in Vlaardingen and Maassluis, smaller towns boarding Rotterdam and often referred to as ‘greater Rotterdam City’. Although Dutch and American cultures can come across as very different at times, their struggle with litter, trash reduction and good recycling strategies are similar in many ways. 
 
The DPW – Avalanche Arts collaboration will continue throughout 2019. The next phase of the collaboration will be done remote and in October 2019 Ms diStefano will again travel to Baltimore to work with the city’s recycling and communication teams. The first step is to create a slide show presentation for middle school students, along with a series of teacher guide materials and worksheets. DPW community liaisons will visit schools to share this work and all teaching materials will be placed on DPW’s website so that interested schools can access the trash lessons directly. Avalanche Arts is excited about sharing their expertise in trash and recycling education with Baltimore City and are looking forward to continuing the work with DPW’s recycling teams.
Ms Kathie’s Seagull Mamma show is both an introduction to theater as well as a lesson in trash management and recycling for young audiences. So it was fitting that when Kathie diStefano, Avalanche Arts, visited elementary schools in Baltimore in late February and early March that her collaboration was with Young Audiences of Maryland.
Baybrook Elementary and Wolfe Street Academy were both visited where Ms Kathie performed to audiences ages 4-6. As with most of her shows, this performance piece is an interactive comedy show designed to teach kids how important it is to throw trash away where it belongs. At Baybrook she performed to 150 kids, assembly style, and at Wolfe Street an audience of 50 children experienced her show in a more intimate setting. Silly moves, recycling bin falling on her head and a play along story where children from the audience joined her on stage, were elements that captivated her audiences. 
For the show’s finale Ms Kathie put on a pair of clogs and proceeded to teach the children a Dutch Trash Song, translating it as she went along. The shows left all wanting more, so plans are in place for another ‘Baltimore City Schools Tour’ in late October into early November 2019.
‘The Seagull Mamma’ show is an English version of the Dutch ‘Zeemeuw Mamma’, part of the educational programs that visit schools in the Netherlands. There are lessons that go along with the show, tips on how to run a successful community clean up and all kinds of projects and inspiring links for the teachers to share with their students. Avalanche Arts, Stichting Lawine in Dutch, have been touring Dutch elementary and high schools for many years and since 2007 with their trash and recycling educational program. Avalanche Arts show schools how easy it can be to add trash and recycling themes to required curriculum in a user friendly way. Avalanche Arts operate from their base in Rotterdam, go to stichtinglawine.nl for more information on their Dutch programs and kathiedistefano.com for their English site.
Arundel Elementary / Middle School
 
Operation Trash workshops were shared with grades 6 and 7 during this November 2018 visit to Arundel Middle School. I shared stories about life in the Netherlands and the Baltimore Rotterdam Sister City connection. The second part of the program was all about trash; how much we produce, recycling facts and figures as well as comparisons between Europe and the United States. Students were very engaged and participated fully in this cross cultural interactive presentation. 

Marcus Edwards, Arundel, with Kathie diStefano, Avalanche Arts 


Federal Hill Preparatory School  
 
Ms. Amy Thomas, parent at Federal Hill Prep arranged for Operation Trash workshops to visit Ms. Overstreet's 4th and 5th grade science classes. Students enjoyed learning about Dutch culture and playing Avalanche Arts' recycling game 'Afval Memorie' which translates into 'Trash Memory'. Students teamed up to find cards which create a match based on which recycling bin the trash goes into, as well as recycling strategies currently in use in the Netherlands.
Ms. Overstreet and Ms. Kathie together with Federal Hill Prep students


Lakeland Elementary Middle School  
 
Ms. Watson's 6th grade enrichment class at Lakeland Middle School learned about human impacts on the Chesapeake Bay during science camp at the beginning of the school year. These students will continue working on this topic as they have all made personal pledges to fight litter. Lakeland Elementary Middle School is also the home of the 'Green Lions', an after-school club who is in charge of recycling at their school. The Green Lions includes students from 2nd grade through 5th, together they are work on keeping recycling at Lakeland a priority.

I enjoyed leading the Operation Trash workshop at Lakeland as well as meeting lots of enthusiastic teachers. Together with support from Baltimore's Office of Sustainability a spring 2018 collaboration is in the works.
Dates 2018-2019
February 2019: Ms Kathie presents....shows in Baltimore City elementary schools 
Operation Trash workshops, Lyceum Vos high school, NL 

 
March 2019:
The Fish Net, elementary school in Vlaardingen, NL 

January 2019:  

Mavo Vos Operation Trash Poster Project  
Playing in a Cleaner Neighborhood, Jan Ligthart Elementary, NL
 
Rotterdam-Baltimore City Link collaboration 
 
November 2018:
Avon Grove Charter School visit to discuss potential exchange program, West Grove, PA, USA 
Operation Trash workshops at Montfort College, Rotterdam, NL 
 
October:
Baltimore Public Works meetings to kick off collaboration  
Young Audiences of Baltimore presentation for staff, Baltimore, USA 

Week of Sustainability, workshops, Geuzencollege, Vlaardingen, NL 
 
Sept-Oct:
Playing in a Cleaner Neighborhood at Dr. Bavinck Elementary, Vlaardingen, NL


August:
Operation Trash lectures at Montfort College & Wolfert College, Rotterdam, NL 

 
June:
Directed The Eco News Show performed by children from BSO De Schakel, Vlaardingen, NL 

 
April – May:
Operation Trash Virtual Exchange, linking Lakeland Elementary Middle School in Baltimore with Het Balkon in Maassluis, the Netherlands. 

 
March 5-9:
School visits in Baltimore, meeting with Baltimore Department of Public Works, Baltimore Rotterdam Sister City Committee, Baltimore Green Maps, among other partners for the Operation Trash Virtual Exchange program. 

 
Feb 27:
Kathie diStefano presents... an interactive lecture at Somerford, assisted living community, Newark, DE, USA 

 
Feb 21:
Rotterdam Baltimore Sister City meeting, De Rotterdam, Wilhelminakade 177, Rotterdam, NL 

 
Feb 1- Feb 22:
'Playing in a Cleaner Neigbhorhood” visit elementary school Het Christal in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands 

 
Feb 5 - 7:
Operation Trash Workshops at Montfort College, Rotterdam, NL  

 
  
2019 Upcoming: 
  
May:
Leading a weekend clown workshop with Dresden Medi-Clowns 

 
June:
Operation Trash workshop at Mavo Vos, Vlaardingen, NL

Dates 2018
Feb 5 - 7: Operation Trash Workshops at Montfort College, Rotterdam
Feb 21: Rotterdam Baltimore Sister City meeting, De Rotterdam, Wilhelminakade 177
Feb 27: Kathie diStefano presents... an interactive lecture at Somerford, assisted living community, 501 South Harmony Road, Newark, DE, USA
March 5-9: Kathie will be visiting schools in Baltimore, meeting with Baltimore Public Works, Baltimore Rotterdam Sister City Committee, Baltimore Green Maps, among other partners for the Operation Trash Virtual Exchange program.
April – May: Operation Trash Virtual Exchange, linking Lakeland Elementary Middle School in Baltimore with Het Balkon in Maassluis, the Netherlands.
Feb 1- Feb 22: 'Playing in a Cleaner Neigbhorhood” visit elementary school Het Christal in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands