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Art with a Bite

A soda can alligator takes top honors at the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Rethink Recycling contest

Josh Tichinel used 700 soda cans to create his first-place alligator in Maryland Department of the Environment’s Rethink Recylcing contest.

Josh Tichinel’s alligator may not be able to swim the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. But the soda-can reptile is a reminder that we can all help save the Bay through creative repurposing.

The Northern Garrett High School student won the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Rethink Recycling art contest.

“The contest is important “because it raises awareness about the importance of recycling and reuse,” says department spokesman Jay Apperson, who also notes that these are lessons best learned and enforced by the young. “There were more than 60 entries from 19 schools across the state.”

Tichinel beat out his competition by using 700 soda cans — including green Mountain Dew for the body — to win an i-Pad. Four runners up, who were honored for creativity, workmanship, use of materials and people’s choice categories, took home Nook eReaders.

The winner was not alone in wild inspiration. Animals appeared in the works of many recycling artists.

“There was a wide variety of pieces, but animals always seem to be popular,” says Apperson, who was impressed by one group’s use of discarded art class rulers to create a tree with a perching owl. “They seem to be more creative every year.”