The Fairchild Challenge

Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Fairchild Challenge?
How do I get my school involved?
How can I get more teachers involved at my school?
How can I get more program booklets?
How do I submit a Fairchild Challenge entry?
How do library drop-offs work?
Can we submit more than the maximum number of entries?
What happens to submitted challenge entries?
Where should I send completed forms?
Can we see the judges' evaluation sheets?
Can we see other schools scores?
How will my school benefit from participating in The Fairchild Challenge?
How can I stay informed about important events, deadlines and other information?
Does Fairchild pay for transportation for Fairchild Challenge events?


What is The Fairchild Challenge?
The Fairchild Challenge is our award winning, interdisciplinary, environmental science competition designed to engage students of diverse interests, abilities, talents and backgrounds to explore the natural world. The program has been recognized as a benchmark for exceptional STEM education and for empowering PreK-12th grade students to become the next generation of scientists, researchers, educated voters, policy makers, and environmentally-minded citizens.

How do I get my school involved?
Each participating school is required to submit an annual elementary, middle, and/or high school registration form, which can be found on each program level homepage: elementary, middle, and high. Current lists of registered schools can also be found on our program homepages. We encourage teachers to collaborate with colleagues from other disciplines and to make sure an administrator signs off on your participation.
Please, include the contact information of all participating school staff on your registration form, and notify all administrators and faculty that your school is registered. Any student or teacher at a school is eligible to participate.

How can I get more teachers involved at my school?
Fairchild Challenge staff is available to visit schools to introduce the program at faculty meetings or student assemblies. Contact us at challengepk-5@fairchildgarden.org, challenge6-8@fairchildgarden.org, or challenge9-12@fairchildgarden.org to request a school consultation.

How can I get more program booklets?
The program booklets can be downloaded from our homepage, then click on your grade level (elementary, middle or high school). Schools can also have small amount of hard copy booklets for reference.

How do I submit a Fairchild Challenge entry?
Following the stated policies and requirements, teachers submit the best entries from their schools with completed entry forms. Each entry form contains a checklist of required items for submission. The entry, with the completed challenge entry form, should be submitted through the method suggested on the entry form. There are three different possibilities, depending on the type of challenge: electronic submission, delivery to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden or Miami-Dade Public Library entry drop-off.

  • Electronic submissions should be emailed to challengepk-5@fairchildgarden.org, challenge6-8@fairchildgarden.org or challenge9-12@fairchildgarden.org, unless otherwise stated in the challenge description.
  • To submit an entry at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, please drop of your entry during business hours, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m, at the Visitor’s Center. Weekends are only possible with advance notice. It is very helpful if you contact The Fairchild Challenge staff to make us aware of your submission. You will receive an email noting that staff received your entry.
  • Many challenge entries can be left with staff at selected Miami-Dade Public Library drop-off sites. Entries can only be left at these particular branch libraries, and must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on the entry due date. Make sure to tell Fairchild Challenge staff which library you utilized.
How do library drop-offs work?
Teachers can drop off entries at selected public libraries. See individual challenges for submission restrictions, as some entries may be too large in size for library drop-off sites.  Please, contact Fairchild staff and inform them when and where entries where dropped off to insure that it will be picked up on time.

Can we submit more than the maximum number of entries?
In order to make the program available to all schools, the number of entries that we can receive from each school is limited; therefore, we cannot accept additional entries. We encourage schools to host school events to help teachers and students determine the top entries to send to Fairchild for judging.

What happens to submitted challenge entries?
Each student entry is judged by a panel of experts at Fairchild according to predetermined evaluation criteria. The evaluation criteria can be downloaded from the Challenges-in-Depth webpages for
 elementarymiddle or high school. Scores, including prizes awarded to individual students and groups that participate in the program, are emailed to all teachers on each school's contact list. You will only receive your school's scores; we do not disclose other schools' scores or standing in the competition. Additionally, teachers will be notified via email of any awards earned by your school. Final results will be announced, and prizes will be awarded at the awards ceremonies in May (middle and high) and June (elementary). Scores for the last two (elementary) and three challenges (middle/high) will be withheld until after the awards ceremonies.

Where should I send completed forms?
Though each particular challenge has different entry submission requirements, The 2015-2016 Fairchild Challenge registration and entry forms and some tables are electronic.
 Please, be advised that it is good practice to save or print a copy for your records. To save completed forms on your Internet browser: right click your mouse, select print, either send the information to your printer or choose save as PDF. You should receive an immediate response when your submission has been received.

Certain forms can also be mailed, faxed or delivered to:

FAIRCHILD CHALLENGE (Attention: Pre-K - 5, or 6 - 8, or 9 -12)
FAIRCHILD TROPICAL BOTANIC GARDEN
10901 Old Cutler Road,
Coral Gables, FL 33156-4296
Fax 305.400.0265

Can we see the judges' evaluation sheets?
We will provide schools with their scores, but the completed evaluation sheets are not released after the judging panels. Visit the Challenges-in-Depth webpages to view challenge evaluation sheets containing criteria such as particular requirements that need to be met in order to be eligible for first place.

Can we see other schools scores?
Schools are sent their individual scores throughout the year, but the competition standings are not released until the awards ceremonies in May/June.

How will my school benefit from participating in The Fairchild Challenge?
All schools that earn the designated point totals for each year will be presented with The Fairchild Challenge Award at the awards ceremony in May/June. Schools receiving The Fairchild Challenge Award for five or ten consecutive years will be honored as a Fairchild Challenge School of Excellence and will receive a banner. 

The Fairchild Challenge is designed to increase student's environmental awareness, scholarship and stewardship. In order to encourage students to visit the garden with their family, all actively-participating students receive a four-person pass to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. The sixteen (middle/high) and twenty (elementary) top-scoring schools receive monetary awards of up to $1,500 to be used towards their environmental programs.

Fairchild also offers grants and resources throughout the school year for participating schools.

How can I stay informed about important events, deadlines and other information for The Fairchild Challenge?
The Fairchild Challenge staff maintains regular e-mail contact with participating teachers through monthly e-newsletters. For this reason, we ask all of our teachers to keep us informed any e-mail address changes. This is especially important if you are taking a lead role in organizing your school's Fairchild Challenge activities. Our monthly e-newsletter provides reminders and updates for deadlines, grant applications, workshops and other Fairchild Challenge related information.

Does Fairchild pay for transportation for The Fairchild Challenge events?
Fairchild accepts applications for transportation reimbursement from Title 1 schools for Fairchild Challenge events. Teachers will receive an email confirmation when their request is received. Teachers are responsible for scheduling their own buses, after Fairchild staff have confirmed that funds have been approved.