The Fairchild Challenge is a free, multidisciplinary, standards-based environmental education outreach program designed to give high school and middle school students an opportunity to creatively shine. By appealing to their innate sense of curiosity about the world around them, the Challenge invites students to investigate the thorniest environmental issues, devise imaginative and effective responses to these issues, and take action to address them.
Developed by the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami, Fl., and adopted by Phipps as a satellite partner in 2008, The Fairchild Challenge offers a menu of interdisciplinary challenges for grades 6 – 8 and grades 9 – 12, attracting students of diverse interests, abilities, talents and backgrounds. The Challenge empowers young people to engage in civic life and encourages them to become energetic and knowledgeable members of their communities.
How to Participate
A Fairchild Challenge team at your school, typically consisting of teachers in a variety of disciplines, submits one middle school or high school registration form. All faculty and administration should be notified that your school is registering.
There are six challenges for high schools and six challenges for middle schools offered this year, each of which is eligible for between 200 and 300 points. Schools may choose to participate in any number of these challenges. Review the Challenges and plan to participate in as many as you can. Involve as many teachers, students and administrators as possible. All high schools that earn more than 900 points and middle schools that earn more than 750 points will be presented with a Fairchild Challenge at Phipps award at our awards ceremony in May of 2016. Students and teachers receive passes to Phipps Conservatory, and the top-scoring schools are awarded $1,000, $500 or $250 prizes to support their environmental programs.
Submitting an Entry
Following the specific policies and requirements, teachers submit the best entries with a Challenge Entry Form. Panels from Phipps and the greater community then evaluate the work.
To help promote the Challenges at your school, download and share our printable posters:
Pennsylvania Academic Standards
Fairchild Challenges are designed to align with Pennsylvania Academic Standards. Download the documents below for a complete lists of standards met by each challenge:
If you have any questions, you may also wish to contact High School Program Coordinator Sahar Arbab at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412/622-6915, ext. 6936.
The Fairchild Challenge Mission
To foster interest in the environment by encouraging students to appreciate the beauty and value of nature; develop critical-thinking skills; understand the need for conservation and biodiversity; tap community resources; become actively engaged citizens; and recognize that individuals do indeed make a difference.
This program is made possible by the generous support of the Grable Foundation and the Pennsylvania Education Improvement Tax Credit Program.
Photo © Kristi Hoffman