Thursday, May 15, 2014

2013-2014 Upper Keys Fairchild Challenge End-of-Year Awards Ceremony

It's hard to believe another school year has come and gone. We recently concluded The Botanic Gardens at Kona Kai Resort's 2013-2014 Upper Keys Fairchild Challenge with a bang at our end-of-year awards ceremony, which was a rewarding night for the 250+ students, teachers, and parents who crowded into Key Largo's Murray E. Nelson Center to receive their certificates, awards, and more. In all, over 900 students, 50 teachers, and 6 Upper Keys schools participated in the program this year!

We presented awards to students who participated in the winning submissions for each challenge, recognizing over 400 students in total, and also to the schools which earned the most points overall. Key Largo Elementary and Middle School were each awarded $750 to use toward future environmental programs for placing 1st in their divisions, while Plantation Key Elementary School and Treasure Village Montessori Middle School both received $500 awards for placing 2nd in their divisions. Additionally, 10 teachers were recognized as Environmental Role Models for their environmental dedication during the school year.

Highlights of the Awards Ceremony included two live performances. Dressed as native Keys creatures, the Key Largo Middle School Band opened the Ceremony with "Hangin' at the Hardwood Hammock." Later on, 3rd and 4th grade students from Ocean Studies Charter School treated the audience to a choral performance titled "You've God a Friend, Land & Sea."

We just started a YouTube channel, so now instead of having to pick and choose photos due to space considerations, we can just make a slideshow movie and show them all! Here's one that Joe made of this year's Upper Keys Fairchild Challenge Awards Ceremony:

If you'd like to learn more about the Upper Keys Fairchild Challenge program, visit, click on "Explore" and then "The Fairchild Challenge." Results, news, photos, and challenge details are available for each school year.

We're honored to be in a position as a botanic garden to play a part in educating the next generation of world citizens about the importance of plants and the environment to humans and the earth's future, and The Botanic Gardens at Kona Kai Resort is looking forward to once again facilitating The Fairchild Challenge in the Upper Keys for the 2014-2015 school year.

Rick Hederstrom, Associate Director
Joe Harris, Director