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Fairchild Challenge at Phipps: Challenge #3 Winners Announced!
Feb 19

Fairchild Challenge at Phipps: Challenge #3 Winners Announced!

By By Emily Johns, High School Program Coordinator

Thank you to all the schools that submitted entries for Challenge #3!  This third challenge of the 2018-2019 Fairchild Challenge year focused on invasive species in Western Pennsylvania. 

The middle school challenge was titled “Invasives Most Wanted.”  Students “framed” their chosen invasive species as “wanted outlaws” in a variety of very creative posters.  The middle schoolers included artistic depictions of their selected species and featured actions that community members can take against them.  Select pieces from this challenge will be exhibited in our Center for Sustainable Landscapes Green Gallery. 

The high school challenge, “Invasive Species Infographic,” also focused on invasive species, but tasked high school students to use catchy colors and concise graphics to tell about their subjects.  These very visual data sheets provided factual information on the invasives while also inspiring action.  Great job, everyone!


And the winners are:

Middle School

First: Carson Middle School — Lina Fu and Tabo Mkandawire

Second: Keystone Oaks Middle School — Amelia Walter and Caroline Burns

Third: Keystone Oaks Middle School — Nyla Hill and Jayla Hill

Third: Penn Middle School — Megan Kamzalow, Braeden Simon, Patrick Boyle, Jared Miller and Natalie Goldsworthy

Special Merit Awards:

  • Carson Middle School — Maggie Mu
  • Dorseyville Middle School — Zhana Neumann
  • Saltsburgh Middle School — Andy Collins
  • Trafford Middle School — Kate Malley and Delena Steimer
  • Trinity Middle School — Ava Campman


High School

First: West Mifflin Area High School — Emily Buchleitner and Hayley Yniguez

Second: West Mifflin Area High School — Alyse Whiddon and Averi Whiddon

Third: Shaler Area High School — Caitlin Fedorek, Dakota Carr, Hannah Coleman, Jamie Eichmiller and Olivia Jarzynka

Special Merit Award: Shaler Area High School — Emily Ehrenberger

We would like to give a special shout out to our panelists: Dr. Sara Kuebbing, Tiffany Betras, Taylor Zallek and Rachel Reeb (University of Pittsburgh), Dr. Denise Joseph (Phipps Volunteer), Dr. Julianna Razryadov (Phipps Curator of Horticulture) and Jennifer Torrance (Phipps Research and Science Education Facilitator).  Thank you for lending us your expertise!

Have questions? Contact Emily Johns at or 412/622-6915, ext. 6936.

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.

Header art by Maggie Mu.  Cover art by Kate Malley and Delena Steimer.  Photographs taken by Phipps’ Research and Science Education staff.