The American Public Gardens Association (APGA) has selected the Fairchild Challenge educational program at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden to receive the association’s 2014 Award for Program Excellence.
The successful interdisciplinary STEM education competition now reaches 125,000 students in South Florida at more than 273 schools from Pre-K to 12.
“We are honored to receive the prestigious 2014 Award for Program Excellence from the APGA,” said Amy Padolf, director of education at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. “This award is a testament to the dedicated teachers who are educating students about conservation, science and the environment.”
The award will be presented at the APGA’s annual meeting, June 23-27, at the Denver Botanic Gardens. The Award for Program Excellence is reserved for an APGA institutional member who has displayed a truly innovative spirit in the development of new programs and has pioneered in one or more of the disciplines appropriate to public horticultural institutions.
According to the APGA, the Fairchild Challenge is exemplary of great public garden programming. The Fairchild Challenge was honored for its notable success generating student engagement and enthusiasm for the environment. The Fairchild Challenge was hailed as an outstanding example of what an impactful, scalable environmental science education program can be and for the model it is for garden educators everywhere.
Few environmental science education initiatives have been as broadly successful as the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s Fairchild Challenge program. The Fairchild Challenge is renowned and widely emulated for its notable success generating student engagement and enthusiasm for the environment. The Fairchild Challenge has been adopted by partner gardens and organizations throughout the United States and around the world. Their flexible approach allows for the program to be adapted and adopted in a wide array of contexts, over a wide range of curricula.
2013 marked the 12th anniversary of the award-winning program, which has now grown to 273 public and private schools and 125,000 K-12 students. The Fairchild Challenge includes a crosscurriculum science initiative and comprehensive environmental science- training pipeline, including the nationwide STEM directive — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Extending from early childhood through advanced graduate education, its goals are aimed at recruiting future science leaders and training a new generation of professionals in environmental science. The Fairchild Challenge has been adopted by dozens of satellite partner gardens and organizations throughout the U.S. in Connecticut, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Utah, and in Latin America in Colombia, Mexico and Perú.
The APGAis committed to increasing the knowledge of public garden professionals throughout North America through information sharing, professional development, networking, public awareness and research. Today, APGA’s 500 member institutions are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and seven other countries.