Frequently Asked Questions


What is The Fairchild Challenge? How do I get my school involved?
How can I get more booklets? I would like to participate. How do I get started?
How can I get more teachers involved at my school? How do I submit a Fairchild Challenge entry?
What happens to the challenge entries? Can we see the judges' evaluation sheets?
Can we see other schools scores? What is your goal?
How will I benefit from participating in The Fairchild Challenge? Does Fairchild pay for transportation for Challenge events?
Can we submit more than the maximum number of entries? Where should I send the forms?
Can I receive additional booklets to share with others? How can I stay informed about important events, deadlines
and other information for The Fairchild Challenge?
How do library drop-offs work? Do students need to fill out a photograph release form in order for their picure/work to be shown?
Questions about specific challenges?

 


What is The Fairchild Challenge?
Designed for students of diverse interests, abilities, talents and backgrounds, The Fairchild Challenge is Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's annual environmental education outreach program. With separate but parallel programs for students in grades Pre-K to 5, 6 to 8 and 9 to 12, The Fairchild Challenge is composed of multidisciplinary competitions and activities aligned with State Academic Standards.

The Fairchild Challenge 'challenges' are intended to appeal to students through hands-on activities that encourage them to experiment with ideas, develop skills, seek information and voice opinions. This free program is open to all schools in the South Florida area. Last year, over 125,000 students and teachers from 263 elementary, middle and high schools participated. Gardens and other institutions as near as Central Florida and as far as Costa Rica have replicated The Fairchild Challenge model as our Fairchild Challenge Satellite Partners.

How do I get my school involved?
A team of Fairchild Challenge coordinators at your school (consisting of at least 2 teachers in diverse disciplines) submits one registration form. All administrators and faculty should be notified that your school is registered. Schools are encouraged to include as many students as possible in the various challenge competitions and may accomplish this by entering any number of the challenges.

How can I get more booklets? 
The program booklets can be downloaded from our homepage.

I would like to participate. How do I get started?
Find out if your school is registered by viewing the updated lists found our homepage. If it is not yet registered, complete the elemantary school registration form or the middle and high school registration form for your school. Registered schools will receive an email confirmation within two days. Any student or teacher at a school is eligible to participate. We encourage four teachers from different disciplines and an administrator to sign the registration form. Teachers should coordinate the judging of the entries at their school in order to send the best entry.

How can I get more teachers involved at my school?
Fairchild Challenge staff are available to visit schools to introduce the program at faculty meetings or student assemblies. School faculty can also request additional copies of the booklet to give to other teachers or administrators and/or the link to our program video to show to other interested parties.

How do I submit a Fairchild Challenge entry?
Following the stated policies and requirements, teachers submit the best entries with a completed entry form downloaded from our homepage. 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.

  • If it is a written paper, we urge you to submit it electronically to Challengepk-5@fairchildgarden.org, Challenge6-8@fairchildgarden.org or Challenge9-12@fairchildgarden.org.
  • If it is an art challenge or a research poster, you will need to bring it to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., or by appointment. Weekends are possible, but require advance notice. 
  • All challenge entries (with the exception of the art and research poster challenges) can also be left 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. Please check back during October 2014 for the list of participating libraries.

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 webpages. Scores are emailed to all teachers on each school's contact list. You will only receive your school's scores; we do not not disclose other schools' scores or standing in the competition. Along with your school's updated school score, you will be notified by e-mail of any awards earned by your school. Final results will be announced and prizes will be awarded at the awards ceremonies in May.

Can we see the judges' evaluation sheets?
Schools will be provided with their point value but the completed score sheets are not released after the judging panels. The template for the scoring sheets is available on The Fairchild Challenge website.

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

What is your goal?
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. 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 for their school. 

How will I benefit from participating in The Fairchild Challenge?
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 top-scoring elementary, middle and high schools receive monetary awards of $250 (10 schools), $500 (5 schools), or $1,000 (1 school) to be used towards their environmental programs.

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

Does Fairchild pay for transportation for Fairchild Challenge events?
Fairchild will accept applications for transportation reimbursement from Title 1 schools for Fairchild Challenge events and/or field trips. 

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.

Where should I send the forms?
All completed forms must be mailed, faxed or delivered to:

FAIRCHILD CHALLENGE (Attention: Pre-K to 5, or 6 to 8, or 9 to12)
FAIRCHILD TROPICAL BOTANIC GARDEN
10901 Old Cutler Road,
Coral Gables, FL 33156-4296
Fax 305.400.0265

Can I receive additional booklets to share with others?
We are happy to mail additional booklets to you - the additional resources request form is available on the website.

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

How do library drop-offs work?
Teachers can drop off entries at selected public libraries (please 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 as to insure that it will be picked up on time.    

Do students need to fill out a photograph release form in order for their picure/work to be shown?
The Fairchild Challenge program policies state that by participating in the program, "Schools consent to Fairchild's unrestricted use of student work and participants' likeness, including photographs and our audio/visual recordings made of participants and/or their entries, at Fairchild or elsewhere. Fairchild must be notified in writing of any exceptions."

 

Updated 08/14