Fairchild Challenge at The Dawes Arboretum on Sabbatical

Thank you to the teachers, students, donors, judges and staff who have contributed to the success of the Fairchild Challenge at The Dawes Arboretum.  

      FC Challenge 2 003

From 2013 to 2017, more than 1,500 students participated in the Fairchild Challenge at The Dawes Arboretum.  Topics included water conservation, pollinators, edible plants and others.  Students incorporated skills related to science, math, art and technology into their challenge solutions.  Winning schools were awarded more than $6,000 in funds to support environmental projects at their schools.  These funds have been used to install school gardens, rain barrels and more.

We have decided to suspend The Fairchild Challenge while we evaluate the best ways to enhance STEAM learning in area schools. 

We look forward to the development of fresh opportunities to further engage area youth in environmental awareness and action.  The Arboretum continues extensive education programming for preschool through adult learners that offers enriching nature experiences for more than 15,000 people each year.  

Interested parties may contact Nancy Gregory, Environmental Educator, at nrgregory@dawesarb.org for more information.

 *Teachers who did not receive water bottles for participating students in 2017 are encouraged to contact Nancy.

Fairchild Challenge Award Winners 2016-2017

On May 2nd students, their families and some amazing teachers joined The Dawes Arboretum staff in celebrating another year of STEAM learning and creativity through the Fairchild Challenge.  To help students and teachers remember our theme this year- Every Drop of Water Counts– customized water bottles were distributed to all.  After sharing pizza and desserts, the overall scores were announced and cash awards and certificates were presented to winning schools.  We enjoyed a fun performance by the Heritage Middle School students and shared all the marvelous work submitted throughout the school year.


Four Licking County schools rose to join the Fairchild Challenge this school year. Overall points accrued and prize awarded are as follows:


Total Scores by Challenge 2016-17 Overall Place                     More than 700pts- FC Award metal Cash Awards
School Name Ch1 Ch2 Ch3 Totals
Newark High School 278.33 278.33 1st. $700
Watkins Middle School 739.99 250.75 125 1115.74 1st yes $700.00
Heritage Middle School 629.99 253.25 130 1013.24 2nd yes $350.00
Granville Middle School 346.66 346.66 3rd $200.00

CONGRATULATIONS to our winners!

A sincere thank you to our program sponsors for their generous support in this year’s challenges.




Challenge 3 – Music to our ears!

Every drop of water counts, water counts, water counts.
Every drop of water counts, conserve it every way!”  Imagine that catchy tune sung by exuberant middle school students then… played on band instruments! This was the finale of a short video submitted by Watkins Middle School,  for the Fairchild Challenge due this month.

But they weren’t the only ones having fun teaching us to conserve water!  

The Revolutionary Rappers, from Heritage Middle School, had some memorable lines in their submission as well.  Picture this performance piece featuring a group of young female students with their ball caps…
7 billion gallons of water wasted each day, right where you’re living in the U.S.A.  …

                                   glass of water

Both schools had high marks from our judges for “Overall Impact”: memorable performance, passionate interpretation and profound message related to water conservation but we needed a clear winner and it was very close!

****Congratulations to our 1st place winners, the Revolutionary Rappers from Heritage MS, who edged out their competitor with 130 pts- just 5 more than Watkins M.S.’s 125 pts! *** 

Thank you to the special teachers who recognize the need for STEAM activities for these  talented (and ambitious) students.  Great job!


**Save the Date- the Awards Celebration is scheduled for May 2nd here at Dawes!DSCN0317




Winners announced!

Challenge 2- Art Design: River Round-Up Poster

Scroll over the pictures below to see their place in the most recent Fairchild Challenge competition.  Raising awareness  for river clean up in Licking County was the goal of this art design challenge.  Two middle schools rose to the challenge and submitted some excellent work. Congratulations on earning points for your schools!


Plan now for 2016-17 final competition-Challenge 3: Performance-Every Drop Counts!

Celebrate International World Water Day! Student groups are invited to create an original mini-musical/skit expressing the importance of freshwater in their lives. Start planning now, performances will be shared with families and friends at our annual Awards Celebration. Challenge 3 due date: March 14, 2017


Challenge 1 Winners


Judging on Nov. 16th was all fun and games as our volunteer judges evaluated entries from 55 local area students. Congratulations to all the schools that entered!  Place holders or not, the student entries earned points towards their totals competing for cash prizes to be awarded in May.

For High School students,Challenge 1 was the creation of a school-wide water conservation awareness campaign, documenting the steps taken and the production of a tri-fold poster illustrating its implementation.
For Middle School students, Challenge 1 was the production of a board game that would creatively inform elementary school students about water conservation and the water cycle.

         High School winner:
Newark High School’s “Water vs. Environment” won first place.  It is their inaugural year, and we are so pleased to have them join the Fairchild Challenge competition.

         Middle School winner:
 Watkins Memorial MS, also in their inaugural year, was awarded first place for “What Goes Up Must Go Down”. Their engaging essay earned many positive comments!



Welcome Back to the Fairchild Challenge at The Dawes Arboretum

Hello to another school year and to the exciting new challenges for your middle and high school students!  Check out the links above for details on this school year’s competition.

Why participate in The Fairchild Challenge?  Print

  • Inspire students’ critical-thinking skills and civic engagement
  • Win prizes and recognition for both student and school achievement
  • Showcase your students’ abilities to local professionals serving as Fairchild Challenge judges
  • Challenges address many ODE standards including: language arts, science, social studies, fine arts and mathematics 

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.




The Fairchild Challenge at The Dawes Arboretum wrapped up the school year with a wonderful night of fashion, food and fun at the annual Awards Celebration on May 3rd. Teachers, students and their families learned about the mission of the Challenge and shared in the excitement as they viewed this year’s entries and applauded prize winners.

Congratulations to all the schools who participated this year!  Here are the point totals and our award winners:

Total Scores by Challenge


More than 600pts- FC Award Winner Cash Awards Rain Barrel Winners
Ch1 Ch2 Ch3 Ch4 Totals Place
Licking Valley MS 204.99 316 277.99 355 1153.98 1st FC Award metal $500.00 *
Granville MS 92 373.3 98.33 197 760.63 2nd FC Award metal $300.00
Liberty MS 179.33 353.3 0 532.63 3rd $150.00 *
Lakewood MS 0 0 0 84 84 4th
Pickerington HS North 205.99 370 278.66 277.8 1132.45 1st FC Award metal $500.00
C-TEC  198.66 0 0 352.2 550.86 2nd $300.00
Granville HS 0 321.6 0 0 321.6 3rd $150.00 *
Tri-Valley HS 162 0 0 0 162 4th

We look forward to seeing each school back next year as we develop engaging new environmental challenges for some amazing students and teachers. A special thank you to our generous sponsors and volunteer judges.   Have a great summer!

You are invited to: The Fairchild Challenge Awards Celebration!

Fairchild Challenge Awards Celebration @ The Dawes Arboretum May 3, 2016       

Place:   The Dawes Arboretum
               7770 Jacksontown Rd. SE | Newark, OH
Date:    Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Time:    6-6:45 open house, pizza and desserts
             6:45-7:30 fashion show and awards ceremony

  • Highlights: “upcycle” fashion show; reveal of Challenge #4 winners; award
    presentations to the top three scoring schools.

  • Submitted entries from all four challenges will be on display and ready for
    pick up at the end of the evening.

  • All participating students and their families are welcome. Teachers, please
    RSVP by April 30 with your school’s total attendance.

  • Fairchild Challenge coordinator : Nancy Gregory | nrgregory@dawesarb.org


Challenge 3- Environmental Change Winners

Congratulations to our winners of the Global Challenge for 2015-16! There were some beautiful entries that were lots of fun for our judges to read. Good job by all!


1st place winner from Licking Valley Middle School

Middle School:
1st place     “The Jade Vine”  with 98.33 points, Licking Valley Middle School
                       (won due to added story component)
2nd place     “Garlic Mustard”  with 98.33 points, Granville Middle School
3rd place      “The Dastardly Plot of Glyphosate” with 90.66 points, Licking Valley Middle                                      School

High School:
1st place     “Lakeside Daisy” with 108.66 points, Pickerington High School North
2nd place    “Howell’s Spectacular Thelypody” with 95 points, Pickerington High School                                        North
3rd place     “The Quiver Tree”  with 87.33 points, Pickerington High School North



2nd place winner from Granville Middle School


*****Get creative and upcycle those items you just can’t bear to throw away!  Challenge 4 is all about the human impact of all that stuff. Don’t forget to enter our last challenge for the year due on April 8th.

Global Challenge: Environmental Change

We are looking forward to your entries to the Global Challenge due March 8th!  Students will submit their research on a plant species that has undergone environmental changes, in response to human action, through a 5 panel comic strip.  This is a great cross-disciplinary challenge to engage your whole student body.  Remember, each school may submit a maximum of 3 entries for this challenge.

Here are some examples from a FC partner site- Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh!

Our winners will be sent to Miami, FL to compete with entries from all the Fairchild Challenge  partner sites.