Fairchild Challenge at Phipps: Challenge #6 Winners Announced!
May 01

Fairchild Challenge at Phipps: Challenge #6 Winners Announced!

By Alyssa Mulé, High School Programs Coordinator

Thank you to the many schools that submitted entries for Challenge #6!  These challenges were titled “Pennsylvania Native Plant Posters” for high school students and "Climate Toolkit Posters" for middle school students.

High schoolers were challenged to create a detailed research poster about the native plants of Pennsylvania, especially in Western PA. Pennsylvania's native plants have been integral to our environmental and cultural wellbeing throughout history, but many are being threatend by invasive species. In this challenge, students created incredible posters that focused on three different native plants of their choosing, their cultural, environmental, and historical relevance, how they're used, and what threats they might be facing.

Middle schoolers were challenged to create research posters about a member of the Climate Toolkit. The Climate Toolkit is a launch pad on which institutions (zoos, museums, and gardens) from around the world are able to set climate-related goals and hold each other accountable. These goals fall under the categories of energy, water, food service, transportation, waste, landscapes and horticulture, investments, internal and external engagement, and research. Students were asked to select an institution that falls under one of these goals, and create a poster detailing what the instution has already achieved, what their additional goals entail, and what roadblocks they may face. 

We were so were inspired by your incredibly brilliant, creative, and thoughtful projects!


High School

First Place: Central Catholic High School; Ethan Vitale

Second Place: Shaler Area High School; Elise Williams, Grace Helbling, Kaydee Schermann

Third Place: Penn-Trafford High School; Mya Malloy, Michael Harris, Marissa Fong, Amelia Haslam, Delaney Race, Madi Gavrish, Sydney Mularski, Cienna Oien


Middle School

First Place: Penn-Trafford Middle School; Elena Southern, Elsie Ley, Ellasyn Tautkus-Berry

Second Place: Dickson STEAM Academy; Edolie Willett, Charlotte Kosach, Leela Norman

Third Place: Dickson STEAM Academy; Sam Pittler, Rayhan Carreiro, Max Balkey

Special Merit: Provident Charter School; James Cute, Caroline Rent, Shylar Moore 


We would like to give a special shout out to our incredible panelists: Adam Haas (Interpretive Program Manager), Shishir Paudel (Plant Ecologist), Abby Krick (Marketing and Communications Manager), and Andrew Lampl (Climate Toolkit Manager)! Thank you all for lending us your time and expertise!


Have questions? Contact Alyssa Mulé, High School Programs Coordinator at amule@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 K-5, 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.


Photographs taken by Phipps’ Research and Science Education staff.