Olympic Wreath Competition Details
Educating the next generation about the importance of plants and our natural environment to the well-being of humanity is crucial. Through our interactions with Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Florida, we learned of The Fairchild Challenge and its devotion to this type of work. Although the program impacts tens of thousands of students in South Florida and throughout the world, it has not yet made successful inroads to schools in the Florida Keys. When we discovered this, we thought it would be great to find a way to make this happen, so we began discussing the possibility of The Botanic Gardens at Kona Kai Resort becoming a Satellite Partner of The Fairchild Challenge. We decided to explore the feasibility of this partnership by doing a single "challenge" with a few teachers from Key Largo School before officially committing. After some research and discussion, we found a perfect project to start with: the 2011-2012 Plant Champions Olympic Wreath Global Competition, the result of a collaboration between Fairchild and Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI). Teachers worked with students to create wreaths inspired by the Olympics made out of plants characteristic of our region (preferably natives). Students wrote an essay explaining their plant choices, including a conservation message applicable to one of the plants, and pictures were taken of students wearing the finished wreaths. The wreath photos and essays were then judged by a panel at The Botanic Gardens at Kona Kai Resort, with the Top 5 winning pictures/essays from Key Largo School sent off to London for a chance to be displayed at the 2012 Olympic Games.