Fairchild Challenge at Phipps: Challenge #4 Winners Announced!
Mar 07

Fairchild Challenge at Phipps: Challenge #4 Winners Announced!

By Emily Nye, High School Program Coordinator

Thank you to the many schools that submitted an entry for Challenge #4, “Environmental News.” We received so many inspiring and thoughtful opinion pieces! It was a pleasure to read what the bright minds of tomorrow have to say concerning current environmental topics. 

We often hear and see various reports in the news about current environmental topics, but sometimes it is hard to take the time to truly understand what is being discussed. In this challenge, we tasked students with investigating a recent news article on an environmental topic, then writing a response to that article. Some of the most popular topics included bee endangerment, fracking, pipeline construction, air and water pollution, and climate change.  The judges found the winning opinion pieces were well researched and clearly written. The winning writers demonstrated good understanding of their topics by explaining all sides of each issue. The winners and their respective topics appear below.

Middle School

First: Ryan Powers, Woodland Hills Academy — “Animal Populations Threatened by Shale Gas Drilling”

Second: Emma Gardner, Rowan Cain, Parisha Wilojanapa and T’ana Moore, The Ellis School — “The Decline of Bees and the Issues Corresponding to their Deaths”

Third: Carson Hertrick, Woodland Hills Academy — “Fracking? Not in My Neighborhood!”

Special Merit: Nicholas Biagi, Springdale Jr./Sr. High — “Ocean Pollution”

High School

First: Elaine Robertson, South Side Area High School — “Safely Exploring Murky Waters and the Creatures within Them”

Second: Sabrina Catalano, Kate Polechko and Zoe Smith, Penn-Trafford High School — “The Importance of Elephants”

Third: Addie McDonald, South Side Area High School — “Deforestation”

Special Merit: Cole Gongloff, Gateway High School — “DAPL – Is all the protesting worth it?”

Special Merit: Nolan Baker, Gateway High School — “DAPL: What’s more important – Oil or People?”

Special Merit: Ella Li, North Allegheny Intermediate High School — “Combating Climate Change”

We would like to especially thank our judges from the following organizations: Green Building Alliance, PennFuture, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, East End Food Coop, Sustainable Pittsburgh and Phipps Conservatory. Thank you for lending us your expertise!

Have questions? Contact Emily Nye at enye@phipps.conservatory.org or 412/622-6915, ext. 3905.

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 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.

Artworks © Isabel Horgan, Zoe Smith, Sabrina Catalano, Kate Polechko, Savannah Luhrman, Tali Brobst, Bailey Wertz, Gabrielle Sedlar and Caden Ferita