Lawine USA

Baltimore Rotterdam Sister City Committee

Baltimore Rotterdam arts/educational activities

HarborTraces is an ongoing art/educational exchange program involving two port cities: Baltimore, Maryland, USA and Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Both cities are legacy industrial cities that have experienced a loss of industry and jobs and suffered environmental damage. The artists and educators in the exchange focus on projects designed to engage the members of these unique, parallel communities and invite them to examine their histories and sense of place. Many of the activities have an environmental theme.


Avalanche Arts, de Amerikaanse tak van Lawine, werkt sinds 2018 samen met Arts for Learning Maryland. “Seagull Mamma”, een show voor peuters tot groep 1, uitgevoerd door Kathie diStefano, maakt deel uit van deze samenwerking. Het verbeteren van ons huidige afvalgedrag is het hoofdthema van deze show, terwijl het een introductie tot theater is voor ons jongste publiek.

Seagull Mamma Video

Meet Kathie diStefano!

Kathie diStefano en Stichting Lawine zijn uitgenodigd om deel te nemen aan het Collective Growth Project (CGP) opgezet door Arts For Learning Maryland, USA. De deelnemers zijn samengesteld uit een selectie van hun 'teaching artists'. Deze kunstenaars gaan investeren in het transformeren van hun lessen en werkwijzen zodat ze op een ​​anti-racistische inhoud getoetst kunnen worden. Naast het ontwikkeling van bijpassend lesmateriaal die meteen in het praktijk worden getoetst, zullen deelnemers kritisch kijken naar hun eigen lesmateriaal en onderzoeken of dit eventuele onbewuste vooroordelen bevat die wellicht in het les materiaal zijn geslopen.


De Collective Growth Project is een vervolg op de Race Equity workshop series, met als doel:


  • An ability to create inclusive environments where all students’ unique gifts and talents are discovered and cultivated, and where students’ identities (racial, cultural, social, gender, etc.) are reflected all around them and  matter through acknowledgment and affirmation.


  • An ability to examine biases and an understanding of the concepts of institutional and structural racism and its impact on policies and practices, especially related to the administration of public education.


  • A passion for students: an ability to build meaningful relationships and a desire to “go above and beyond” to create homeplaces where Black joy is cultivated and thrives. 


  • A commitment to seeing families as partners in education and communicating with them regularly.


Operation Trash Virtual Exchange

Arts educational programs about trash, recycling,

and environmental stewardship.


The 2022 edition of the exchange kicked off in February with Bay Brook Middle School in Baltimore, Maryland (USA) and the bilingual Wolfert Lansing school in Lansingerland, a suburb of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, a sister city of Baltimore.


One of the highlights at Bay Brook took place in April on International Earth Day. Ms Sarah Vail, science teacher and Bay Brook exchange coordinator, put together a group of enthusiastic students for the occasion. Ms Vail gathered the exchange group supported by additional 8th grade students as well as lower level pupils to join forces to give Mother Nature a helping hand . The weather was brilliant and lots of trash got cleaned up during this inspiring community cleanup happening.

The highlight in the Netherlands at Wolfert Lansing was a performance of The Eco News Show. This one act play is all about trash production, trash behavior and how important recycling is for our future. The show was performed in the Wolfert Lansing drama studio for an invited audience, including Nacoya Villegas, member of the Baltimore Rotterdam Sister City Committee, who was visiting the Netherlands at the time.

Throughout the exchange program students took a critical look at their own trash behavior and how this affects the environment worldwide as well as in their own neighborhood. One of the most popular theme’s in the 2022 exchange was “Trash in Nature” topic. Many students became alarmed when they learned of the problems that our litter and illegal dumping creates for our environment and how animals suffer because of it.

Another aspect of the exchange that stays popular are the introduction videos that both classes create to share with their partners abroad. Seeing and hearing about another culture located thousands of miles away is fun! Learning about what is different and being surprised by how many things we have in common keep students curious.

Wheels are already turning in preparation for the 2022-23 exchange program. We look forward to continuing to connect students in Baltimore with students in the greater Rotterdam city area.


Think global, and act local is a fitting motto for Operation Trash Virtual Exchange, linking students in Baltimore, MD with students in the Netherlands to talk about our trash and recycling challenges.



Avalanche Arts thanks her partners and sponsors for their support.




Bedankt Lansingerland & Stichting RoFa Foundation voor jullie steun!


Operation Trash Virtual Exchange is een cultureel uitwisselingsproject waarin de thema’s afval en recycling centraal staan. Wolfert Lansing’s 2E klas gaan virtueel uitwisselen met Bay Brook Middle School in Baltimore, de grootste stad in de staat Maryland (VS). Dit programma is mede mogelijk gemaakt dankzij steun vanuit de gemeente Lansingerland en RoFa Foundation. Operation Trash Virtual Exchange 2022 is gestart in februari en zal doorgaan t/m mei 2022.