Fairchild Global Challenge

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and BGCI are partnering for this year’s (2020-2021) Global Challenge: Unsung Plant Scientists. This global challenge is open to all school age learners and celebrates underrepresented plant scientists.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
  • Status of project

  • Region

  • Topic

    Public Engagement

What is the Fairchild Challenge?

The Fairchild Challenge is an award-winning, interdisciplinary, environmental science competition, run by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. The challenges are designed to engage students of diverse interests, abilities, talents and backgrounds to explore the natural world. For 2020-2021, Fairchild and BGCI are collaborating on a global challenge about Unsung Plant Scientists.

The Global Challenge: Unsung Plant Scientists – Their Journey and Legacy

Plant scientists have played a critical role in breaking social barriers and influencing scientific thinking that impacts our daily lives. Throughout history to the present, they are fearless leaders who have created bold initiatives and revolutionized the field. To achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, a global community must be built on values of inclusion, diversity and equity.

This Challenge is a unique opportunity for our global participants to “see themselves” in science and identify with plant scientists who look like them.


To celebrate botanists with different perspectives from diverse backgrounds, we are asking students to create a trading card that showcases the life and inspiring work of a chosen botanist. 

This challenge is all about unsung plant heroes – celebrating scientists that are underrepresented globally. This could be someone from history but it could also be someone working in plant science today (in a botanic garden, at a university for example).

We want to tell stories about plant scientists from different countries, backgrounds, ages, communities. We want our stories to be diverse and inclusive and showcase the best of plant science.  Think about what this means to you and who inspires you.


    The challenge is aimed at school age learners (4-18) and can be completed as an individual or as a group (up to 5 people).

    Entries will be judged by a panel of global botanic garden professionals and the winning entries will be displayed on our webpage, featured in our education journal Roots and shared with the BGCI network to provide a global voice of innovative plant scientists that have spurred positive change.


    Once the deadline has closed, we will review the entries, and the winners will be shared on the BGCI website and in our Education journal Roots.


    1. Have a discussion with your class, family and/or friends about the challenge. What botanists do you know? What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?
    2. Select a botanist/plant scientist for your trading card and research them – you may find information in books, from the internet, from your local botanic garden, through a university botanic department, etc. If they are working in plant science right now you may even be able to set up an interview with them.
    3. Download one of our Trading Card Templates
    4. Design a trading card about your chosen person – this should include a picture and text.
    5. Complete the form on this page and upload your trading card design


    To enter you must complete the form provided below and attach your designed trading card. Your entry must meet the following requirements:

    • Your entry must accurately depict a plant scientist from a diverse background
    • The written description must include the plant scientist’s legacy and scientific contribution to the field
    • The artwork must be an original hand-drawn or computer-generated (2-D flat) design created by student submitting the entry
    • The entry should follow the provided template, if hand-drawn this should be in full colour; using colored pencils, crayons, pens, fine-point markers or paint only.


    Deadline extended: 31st December 2021!


    Fairchild Global Challenge Submission Form

    • Max. file size: 500 MB.
      Please only upload one entry per form submission