Beginning in 2015, local students participating in the Fairchild Challenge at the GEC will be able to compete in four challenges with local partners and expert panels, including the Fairchild Challenge Global Competition for national and international institutions.

The Garden Education Center presents The Fairchild Challenge

The Fairchild Challenge is an 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, and engaged citizens.  In eleven years, the program has expanded to 125,000 students and includes a Global Showcase, in partnership with Botanic Gardens Conservation International.

The Fairchild Challenge was designed and initiated by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables (Miami), Florida.

Goals of the Challenge

The Fairchild Challenge fosters interest in the environment by encouraging students to appreciate the beauty and value of nature, develop critical thinking skills, understand the need for biodiversity and conservation, tap community resources, become actively engaged citizens and recognize that individuals do indeed make a difference.

A New Satellite Program:  The Fairchild Challenge at the Garden Education Center

At the Garden Education Center of Greenwich, with the guidance of educators at the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, we will work closely with public and independent schools to offer challenges that are aligned with and support the the core values of our educators, and vision for our graduates. Details about challenges can be found HERE.

A Shared History and Rare Opportunity

The Fairchild Botanical Garden in Coral Gable, Florida, and the Montgomery Pinetum in Cos Cob both share the same founder and as sister gardens we have a rare opportunity to celebrate our link.  Colonel Robert Montgomery was a strong character who students will come to know as a local example of vision and leadership in both conservation and business, and a collector of rare conifers, we can visit here in Greenwich.  Offering the Fairchild Challenge is part of our mission at the GEC to promote conservation, horticulture and the arts to all ages.  We aim to connect students and teachers to the diversity of plant life in our green spaces: school grounds, town parks, and windowsill gardens.

Why take the Challenge?

The First Annual Lettuce Challenge: a pilot challenge for second grade teachers will be offered again in Spring 2016.

The Fairchild Challenge inspires young people to engage in civic life and encourages them to become energetic and knowledgeable members of their communities.  The GEC will offer an annual menu of activities (called challenges) for individual students and groups to attempt.  Schools can participate in any number of the annual challenges, developing Green Hearts, Green Thumbs, and Green Minds, and supporting the development of a growth mindset, and well being of our students.

Together, we are planting seeds for lifelong learning, healthy living and good stewardship.

For More Information


More information about the Fairchild Challenge at the GEC, enrollment forms, and details on all 2015-2016 challenges CLICK HERE


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