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Welcome to the high school challenge page for Challenge 2 of the Fairchild Challenge! Read below to find challenge information, entry requirements, resources and more for the challenge.

Challenge 2: Art and Writing

Title: Plant Love Stories
For individuals or groups | Maximum points: 200
Due Date: Fri., Nov. 19, 2021 by 5 p.m.

Download challenge rubric here

Your Challenge:

Plants are all around us, constantly filling our lives with food, flowers and fascination. But have you ever noticed that people do not notice or get excited about plants as much as we do about animals? This is called plant awareness disparity (formerly known as plant blindness). Plant awareness disparity causes people to lack interest in, positive attitude toward and knowledge about plants and their importance. Plants impact our lives constantly! Think of an important moment in your life. Were there any plants around you in that moment?

Everyone has a plant love story: a story about a plant that shaped your life in some way. You may have a fond memory of harvesting from the garden with your grandmother or spotting brightly-colored flowers while you played in the woods. Maybe your plant love story involves kicking a soccer ball through a field or eating watermelon on a hot day. Plants affect us all uniquely, but the love we share for them brings us together. Your challenge is to think of a plant that has meaning to you, and write the story of how that plant has impacted your life. Think about the art of good story-telling as you write. Your plant love story should be a creative writing piece written as either prose or poetry. The story should be no more than one page typed and should be accompanied with your own original photo or artwork of this plant.

You are encouraged to visit Plant Love Stories to read other people’s plant love stories and get ideas for your own! Select stories will be featured on the Plant Love Stories blog. Make sure to submit your entries to Phipps Conservatory, not the Plant Love Stories blog!

Entry Requirements:
Deliver to science education coordinator at Phipps in person, via certified mail or via email:

  • Challenge Entry Form
  • One written story (prose or poem) about a plant that has shaped your life or holds meaning to you. The story should be no more than one page typed with size 12 font, 1.15 spacing and one-inch margins.
  • An art piece to go with the story in the form of an original photograph, a drawing, painting or other visual art piece
  • Please include the school name and a list of the students involved in the project.
  • If mailing a copy to the Conservatory, please use the address below:


Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
The Fairchild Challenge c/o Jennifer Torrance
One Schenley Park
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

The following list of online resources may be used when preparing your entry:


Read below to find the standards for each grade level for Challenge 2 of the High School Fairchild Challenge

  • Grades Nine – Twelve

    • CC.1.4.9-10.M: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events.
    • CC.3.6.11-12.C: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
    • CC.1.2.9-10.F: Analyze how words and phrases shape meaning and tone in texts.
    • CC.1.4.9-10.N: Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple points of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters.
    • CC.1.4.9-10.O: Use narrative techniques such as dialogue, description, reflection, multiple plot lines, and pacing, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters; use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, settings, and/or characters.
    • CC.1.4.9-10.A: Write informative/ explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately.
    • CC.1.4.9-10.Q: Write with an awareness of the stylistic aspects of writing. • Use parallel structure. • Use various types of phrases and clauses to convey meaning and add variety and interest.
    • CC.1.4.9-10.U: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.
    • CC.1.4.9-10.F: Demonstrate a grade-appropriate command of the conventions of standard English grammar, usage, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.
    • 9.1.12.B: Recognize, know, use and demonstrate a variety of appropriate arts elements and principles to produce, review and revise original works in the arts.
    • 9.1.12.E: Delineate a unifying theme through the production of a work of art that reflects skills in media processes and techniques.

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