Senior Morgan Pitts received a $5000 scholarship from the Deer Park/Baltimore Orioles Environmental Service Scholarship Program at the Orioles-Angels game on September 7 for his work protecting and cleaning the Chesapeake Bay.
Pitts won the award for his continued participation in several programs sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), the Center for the Inland Bays (CIB), and other internships and volunteer work over several years. Last summer, Pitts completed his Senior Research Project evaluating the health of Little Assawoman Bay for the CIB.
Deer Park Natural Spring Water and the Baltimore Orioles co-sponsored the awards, which are presented to three high school students every year who are involved in "environmental service projects at least eight hours per week for a six-month period," according to the program. David Reidman, a friend of Pitts and a student in the Poolesville High School Global Ecology Program, and Nawshaba Morshed, from Herndon, Virginia, were the other two recipients of the award this year.
The awards were presented to Pitts, Reidman and Morshed by Deer Park officials on the field at Camden Yards before the game. Reidman worked at the MCPS Smith Center in Rockville and planted eelgrass, and Morshed started a large recycling program in her area. Pitts, who considers himself a baseball fan called the experience "exciting" because he got to walk on the field. Pitts said he "was a little bit speechless for a minute" after he found out he won.
Much of Pitts' work involved hands-on restoration efforts or education of others about the Bay's ecology. "My entire Senior Research Project was working in several projects relating to eelgrass planting, and oyster reef creation," said Pitts.
Two years ago, Pitts founded the Blair Baysavers club, which has since become a part of Students for Global Responsibility. The club was created to help improve the general environment of the Bay, and students help plant grasses on occasional trips.
Pitts said he was happy with the progress of the club, calling the trips "the highlight of my experience." SGR also sponsors cleanups of Sligo Creek and other local streams. "SGR has a pretty good turnout on average," says Pitts, "and [members have] interest in the environment."
According to Pitts, his interest in the Bay "began in middle school, when one of my teachers drove me out on a trip with CBF." Since then, he has done a variety of jobs, but enjoyed his experiences as an educator the most. "Education is the most important part," he said, "I felt like I made the most difference" teaching kids. He explained that planting grasses and cleaning up dirty streams is helpful in the short term, but that education is lasting.
"When I've got 30 sixth-graders," he said, "and I see them leaving, I feel better that they see the world differently."
Students interested in finding out more about the Baysavers or SGR in general are encouraged to attend SGR meetings at 2:15 and 3:00 on Thursdays in room 134.
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