Rubrics for Challenges

Just for the record: at the suggestion of you, the Fairchild Challenge educators, we will be posting the rubrics for each of the challenges here on the blog.  This should help you narrow down which of your students’ wonderful work you would like to submit as your entries.  This is still a work in progress, but the rubrics will be posted in plenty of time for you to use them to your benefit.   Thanks for the great idea!  (Rubrics for the “You, Unplugged” essays are now posted.  See: Challenges in Depth, Challenge #1, Additional information.)

Register for the Fairchild Challenge- it’s easy and free!

LetterThank you, thank you, and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to take a look at the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps blog.  If you’ve gotten this far, then you are most definitely the kind of teacher who, both, cares about the environment and goes the extra mile for your students. Congratulations! You’ve come to the right place! Now, all you have to do is register to participate.  It’s as easy as printing out and filling out our form [download here] and putting it in the mail or sending us a scanned copy.  Then, you’re registered for the year.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions: Kate Borger at or 412/622-6915, ext. 3905.

Welcome Back! The 2014-2015 Challenges are Posted!

We hope you are coming back to school refreshed and rejuvenated from a wonderful summer!  Thanks so much for checking in with the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps which we hope will continue to inspire and invigorate you throughout the coming year.  This blog will provide you with all the information your school needs to participate in this environmental education program and competition.   You’ll find a registration form under the “Getting Started: Forms” category to your right.  Remember: participation in the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps is absolutely free, you can win cash for your school, and every participating student receives a pair of passes to Phipps Conservatory!

You can read all about this year’s exciting, project-based “challenges” by clicking on the appropriate links on the sidebar to your right.  And please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or suggestions: or 412/622-6915, x 3905.

We’re looking forward to working with you for the benefit of your students and the planet!

And the winners are…

For the Middle School Fairchild Challenge at Phipps:

3rd Place ($250):

Carson Middle School

J.E. Harrison Middle School

Keystone Oaks Middle School

2nd Place ($500):

Shaffer Elementary School 6th Grade

1st Place ($1000):

Shaler Area Middle School


And for the High Schools:

3rd Place ($250):

Hampton High School

2nd Place (tie- $500 @):

North Allegheny Senior High School

Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy

1st Place ($1000):

Shaler Area High School

Congratulations to these schools and to all the participants in the 2013-2014 Fairchild Challenge for raising your awareness of the nature around you and becoming active stewards of the environment!



Sticks and stones and bottles and cans= Art

Owl 1st PlaceFairchild Challenge high school students found that you can really produce meaningful works of art by combining found objects with natural materials that usually go unnoticed.  Look on the ground – find a twig or some moss, throw in a couple of pop cans or bottle tops and some paper and let the inspiration overtake you.  That’s what happened for those who entered Challenge #7.  This amazing little owl took 1st Place, and here’s a list of all the winners:

1st Place: Doryan Ward, Highlands High School

2nd Place: Megan-Rose Brittner, Shaler Area High School

3rd Place : Bekah Kellner, Angela Klinger and Alex Grumski, North Allegheny Senior High School

Honorable Mention: Jerry Brown, Gateway Senior High School



Middle Schools Take Action for the Environment

From promoting recycling and energy conservation in every classroom to educating  younger children and peers about plants and environmental issues, middle schoolers became productive activists over the course of the school year.  The many projects devised and implemented by Fairchild Challenge participants were documented in the final middle school challenge, Environmental Action. Every project was valuable and inspiring, so congratulations to all! Here are the winners of Challenge #6:

1st Place: Shaffer Elementary 6th Grade

2nd Place: Shaler Area Middle School

3rd Place : Woodland Hills Academy

Honorable Mention:

Carson Middle School

Keystone Oaks Middle School

Marshall Middle School

Tune into the Saturday Light Brigade on May 10th at 10:35 a.m. to hear details from the winners at 88.3 fm or