Monday, February 2, 2009


Fairchild Challenge Provides a Feb. 4 – Feb. 6 Training Workshop to Help International Environmental Leaders Establish Youth-Oriented Programs Worldwide and a Feb. 7 Environmental, Political Debate for Local High School Students

 CORAL GABLES, FL – Feb. 3, 2009Caroline Lewis, director of education of the Fairchild Challenge, a South Florida-based environmental outreach program, today announced the official launch of an initiative to spread the Challenge’s successful template across all points of the globe as part of its commitment to foster environmental awareness, scholarship and stewardship in teenagers and pre-teens. The program kicks off with a series of activities this week that include a training workshop for an international roster of environmental leaders as well as local students’ debates about environmental and political topics. The events take place from 6 p.m. Weds., Feb. 4, through 3:30 p.m. Sat., Feb. 7, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables, Fla.

 In its seventh year of existence, the Fairchild Challenge is quickly growing to become one of the world’s most comprehensive and influential youth environmental education programs. The National Forum on Children and Nature, (NFCN), a high-profile campaign of the prestigious Conservation Fund, recently recognized it as a worldwide model for connecting youths with the environment in new and creative ways.

 Key highlights of this week’s events include a “Satellite Partners Training Workshop” to help environmental educators and leaders from parks, botanical gardens, zoos and museums throughout the U.S. as well as from Brazil, Costa Rica and other countries, to establish the Fairchild Challenge’s successful youth-oriented programs worldwide. Also scheduled is the 7th Annual Fairchild Challenge Student Congress, where students from South Florida high schools will debate critical environmental topics and weigh science against economic and political issues. A complete list of activities and debate topics is attached.

 “We look forward to playing an even greater role in the global dialogue about weaving awareness of nature into the daily lives of youths everywhere,” Lewis said.

Designed by specialists at South Florida’s world-renowned Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, the Fairchild Challenge comprises a series of individual projects, contests and performances in which students may choose to participate.  These Challenge options include: writing opinion and research papers; performing songs and skits; creating gardens, artwork and newsletters; designing solar-powered devices; and formulating “green” cuisine menus. Participation is measured by a point system, with each school aiming to accrue enough points to receive the Fairchild Challenge Award at the annual ceremonies in May.

 About the Fairchild Challenge

The Fairchild Challenge, established in 2002 by South Florida’s 70-year-old Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, seeks to reconnect America’s youths with nature through an inter-disciplinary program available free to middle and high schools. Designed to integrate with state curriculum standards, the Fairchild Challenge offers a series of individual projects and contests in which schools may earn points toward prizes awarded at an annual ceremony each May. Staff members at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, one of the world’s premier conservation and education-oriented gardens, also train educators from public gardens, museums, zoos and other organizations to establish Fairchild Challenge programs throughout the U.S. and beyond. To learn more, visit or call
(305) 667-1651.

About Fairchild

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is dedicated to exploring, explaining and conserving the world of tropical plants. It is one of the premier conservation and education-based gardens in the world and a recognized international leader in both Florida and international conservation. Currently Fairchild has field programs in over 20 countries including support to protected areas in Madagascar and Africa and botanic garden development and renovation projects in South and Central America, the Caribbean and Middle East. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden houses the National Palm Collection as recognized by the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), has the world’s greatest living collection of palms and cycads; an education program reaching more than 50,000 school children per year; hosts popular events like the International Chocolate Festival, International Mango Festival and International Orchid Festival, the Ramble, concerts, affiliated plant society shows and sales and more; and, is a not-for-profit organization relying on the support of its 40,000 members and benefactors. Fairchild hosts major art events such as Mark di Suvero, Fernando Botero, Dale Chihuly and Kris Martin at Fairchild this year, Botero, Lichtenstein and Chihuly at Fairchild in 2008 and Chihuly at Fairchild in 2005 and 2006. Fairchild is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables (Miami), Florida 33156. Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, $10 for children 6-17 and free to children 5 and under and Fairchild members. For more information, please visit us at and on Facebook at


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