The Lightning Strike
International Club to participate in high school environment competitionWednesday, March 01, 2006 By Carol Kerpel
The International club has entered in a competition known as “The Fairchild Challenge.” Designed for students of diverse interests, abilities, talents and backgrounds, the Fairchild Challenge is an annually held environmental-education outreach program for all high schools in South Florida. It aims to beautify and educate the school on environmental issues. A fundamental part of the challenge is inspiring a greater knowledge and love for plants and gardening so all can appreciate the beauty of nature. The competition involves different kinds of challenges that schools could choose from, all related to the environment, each ranging from 100 to 300 points. “Krop chose to take on the challenges of writing a song, a debate, and our biggest project, habitat restoration,” International Club sponsor and Spanish teacher Phyllis Blanco said. For this specific challenge, schools have to make an effort and/or lifestyle change to a part of the school, stressing conservation, minimizing pollution and promoting environmentally-friendly causes. To show the changes made to the school, documentation of all the efforts made by the team is required. “We decided to landscape the portable areas with native plants as our challenge,” Blanco said. “The different plants we are using include frangipani, corn plants, snake plants, ferns, milk weeds and butterfly plants.” This project not only encourages habitat restoration, but is also a learning experience for students. “A good project takes time, and I have learned through this project that you can make anything happen with a little work,” freshman Rina Martinez said. “I have been learning about different cultures and environments , and I’m happy to be restoring the school to make it more appealing.” A growing number of students have become interested in this project and helping out the club to tend the little gardens. “This project has made us learn about teamwork,” senior Erica Drybread said. “It’s very good because it makes the school look better and more environmental friendly.” Fairchild awards top-scoring schools with up to $1,000 for their environmental programs, which can later be used in beautifying the school even more. Rather than just winning the competition, this project will encourage and help with the beautification of school grounds. “Gardening is a wonderful experience; we need more hands on projects for our students,” Blanco said.