Congratulations on another year of accomplishment!

Exquisite drawings, informative and clever graphic novels and mini-musicals, and of course, environmental action.  It’s been another great year of the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps and we send our most sincere congratulations to the 69 teachers and 2000 students who participated in this year’s challenges.    Your effort and creativity in taking on the challenges is inspiring!

Congratulations to our top-scoring schools who went home this week with prizes ranging from $250 to $1000 to be used for their environmental science and green initiatives.

And the middle schools are:

$250: David E. Williams Middle School

Carson Middle School

$500 (tie): The Ellis School

Shaffer Elementary/Woodland Hills Academy 6th grade

$1000: Shaler Area Middle School

The top-scoring high schools were:

$250: Central Catholic High School

North Allegheny Intermediate High School

West Mifflin Area High School

$500: Shaler Area High School

$1000: North Allegheny Senior High School

Phenomenal work, all!!

Woodland Hills artist takes 1st Place in Global Challenge

We are so proud and delighted to announce that Miranda Miller from Woodland Hills High School has won 1st Place in the Global Challenge for Plant and Pollinator drawings.  She was competing with other high school artists from the U.S., Peru, Mexico and Colombia.  See more about the Global Challenge Top 10 for high schools and middle schools at: DSC_0048

Come Celebrate with Us

kids-dance-party-clip-art-dance2[1]We can’t wait to celebrate your fabulous efforts to connect with nature, raise awareness about environmental issues and do something to benefit our planet.  We’re holding this year’s Fairchild Challenge Awards Ceremonies at Phipps on:

Tuesday, May 19 for Middle Schools


Wednesday, May 20 for High Schools

from 6-8 pm at Phipps Conservatory.  Light refreshments will be served after the ceremony.   Please RSVP by May 12th.

Global Challenge being judged at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

DSC_0007This year’s Global Challenge, Plant/Pollinator drawings, have been judged at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, FL.   Entries came from Fairchild Challenge satellite sites located from Utah to Peru!  They will be announcing the winners on May 13th .

Please note: here in the Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes Art Gallery, we will have our top 18 entries on display from May 8 through August 10.



Final Challenge of the Year due May 1st!

This is the challenge where you really can and do make a difference:the Environmental Action Challenge.  This is your chance to document the steps you’ve taken at home, at school or in the community to raise environmental awareness and to actually help improve our local environment.   (Plus it’s your chance to earn 350 points and involve lots of students.)  By now, your projects are running or are finished and it’s just a matter of documenting them. See our MS or HS Challenges in Depth for requirements.   All submissions are due by Friday, May 1st at 5 p.m.  We can’t wait to see what inspiring work you’ve done to better our planet!!

High Schools showcase “Sustainable Pittsburgh”

Green buildings, repurposed buildings, urban vegetable gardens, and clean energy – they’re all here in the Pittsburgh region and our HS Challenge #5 participants bragged about them beautifully in their multimedia presentations.  The judges included experts from Pittsburgh environmental organizations: Penn Future, Sustainable Pittsburgh, and The Green Building Alliance, as well as local environmental documentary filmmaker, Kirsi Jansa.  And the winners are:

1st Place: Shayla Nguyen, Kim Yurasits, Alyssa Wohlfarth and Leah Lebrew from Shaler Area High School

2nd Place: Audrey Immonen and Jessica Brandon from North Allegheny Senior High School

3rd Place: Gianmarco Frezza, Central Catholic High School (his video is here:)

Eco-scientist skits and mini-musicals get the applause they earned!

Panelists at workWe asked our middle school participants to do a very challenging task: research the life and work of an environmental scientist and create a skit or musical theater piece around that person, and say it all in 3 minutes or less.  The judges (a celebrated Pittsburgh playwright, an actor and director, the science theater coordinator for the Carnegie Science Center and a well-known local environmental scholar and researcher) applauded the mini-productions (and learned lots of new information from the videos, too).  All 300+ students who helped to create the entries deserve congratulations, and here are the winners:

1st Place: Carson Middle School for an original opera about Tim Jarvis, Climate Crusader

2nd Place: Burgettstown Middle School for their take on environmental pioneer, Rachel Carson

3rd Place: Shaler Area Middle School for the story of Julia “Butterfly” Hill

(Some students from the schools above will appear on the Saturday Light Brigade radio program on April 4th at 10:35 a.m.   You can listen in at 88.3 fm WRCT or online at

Special Merit Awards go to:

David E. Williams Middle School for a Rachel Carson musical

Dickson Elementary for the adventures of climate scientist, James Hansen

The Ellis School for a heartfelt musical about Kenyan activist, Wangari Maathai