Posts tagged ‘neighborhood voices’

February 20, 2015

Tune In: Plants and Pollinators Art Challenge Winners on the Radio this Saturday!

by Melissa Harding

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Tomorrow, February 21st at 10:35 am, The Saturday Light Brigade family radio station will feature a 25-min interview with the “Plants and Pollinators” middle school art winners from the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps competition. Over 344 area students created beautiful drawings that reflect the relationship between plants their pollinators. Hear from the winners about the challenge and what they learned from it!

The Saturday Light Brigade can be heard every Saturday morning on WRCT 88.3 FM. It also streams live at slbradio.org where the interview will be archived under Neighborhood Voices.

Read more about this challenge and learn about the Fairchild Challenge competition HERE!

The above picture was a winning drawing in the most recent challenge!

December 26, 2014

Tune In: Edible Plants and People Photo Winners on the Radio this Saturday!

by Melissa Harding

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Tomorrow, December 27th at 10:35 am, The Saturday Light Brigade family radio station will feature a 25-min interview with the Edible Plants and People middle school photo winners from the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps competition. Over 465 area students created photo essays that reflect the relationship between people and the food on their plates. Hear from the winners about the challenge and what they learned from it!

The Saturday Light Brigade can be heard every Saturday morning on WRCT 88.3 FM. It also streams live at slbradio.org where the interview will be archived under Neighborhood Voices.

Read more about the previous challenge and  learn about the Fairchild Challenge competition at the blog!

The above picture was a winning photo in the most recent challenge!

November 18, 2014

Tune In: “You Unplugged” Essay Winners on the Radio this Saturday!

by Melissa Harding

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Saturday, November 22nd at 10:05 am, The Saturday Light Brigade family radio station will feature a 25-min interview with the You Unplugged middle school essay winners from the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps competition. Over 1,250 area students wrote reflective essays in response to the challenge of entirely giving up technology for one day. Hear from the winners about the challenge and what they learned from it!

The Saturday Light Brigade can be heard every Saturday morning on WRCT 88.3 FM. It also streams live at slbradio.org where the interview will be archived under Neighborhood Voices.

Read more about the You Unplugged challenge and the Fairchild Challenge competition at the previous blog post!

The above picture was taken by Science Education staff and volunteers.

April 26, 2013

Speak Out: Middle School Challenge #5 of the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps

by Melissa Harding

Cartoon 1

During the latest challenge of the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps, participants were asked to speak up about an important environmental issue affecting the region. They were given the option of either writing a letter to the editor or creating a cartoon to illustrate their point. Participants in the letter writing challenge were asked to think critically about why their chosen problem affects western Pennsylvania and ways that local citizens can help mitigate its impact. They also were asked to include informational facts that they found through their research. The cartoonists were required to create a cartoon composed of original student artwork and to write a 200-word essay accompanying their drawing. In total, 277 middle school students participated in this challenge. There were so many entries that the judges were working in overtime to find the winner! All of the entries were wonderful, tackling such hard topics as fracking, pollution, water run-off and green energy.

Cartoon 2In the essay category, the winning entry was from a student at Shaffer Elementary concerned about invasive species. Citing zebra mussels, garlic mustard and emerald ash borer as examples, this student not only outlined the reasons that these organisms are spreading, but also gave many great examples of ways to eliminate these intruders. From reminding boaters to scrape their hulls to pulling out garlic mustard before it seeds, this letter was positive and provided an empowering message to its readers. “As you can tell, all of these invasive species are dangerous and harmful to the ecosystems of western Pennsylvania! So let’s stick together and take action to eradicate these invaders!”

The second place essay, from a student attending Sewickley Academy, tackled the topic of pollution in the Ohio River, one of the top ten most polluted rivers in America. Citing sewage overflow as the main culprit, the author describes the many plants and animals who make their homes along or in the river and why these are adversely affected. “In the Ohio River there used to be at least 80 species of mussels that were recorded to be healthily living. But now, there are only 50 species left, out of which five are endangered and close to extinction.” Her solution, increased funds for projects related to the decrease of sewage overflow, is a good idea for both the environment and the people who live near and drink from the river.

Cartoon 3In the cartoon category, the winning entry was submitted by a student from Mellon Middle School regarding global warming. Her cartoon depicts two children walking along wearing shorts and eating ice cream, both talking about how unbelievable it is that winter used to be cold. Her accompanying letter cites the fact that Pennsylvania is the third in the nation in terms of global warming pollution. “If everyone sees the current problems, then we might have a fighting chance of turning the whole thing around. It might take a decade, two or probably more, but it can be accomplished.”

The second place winner, submitted by a student from Shaffer Elementary, tackled the issue of zebra mussels crowding out native mussels in our regions three rivers. Her cartoon depicts a zebra flexing its muscles and dressed in a military uniform, saying “Atten-hut! Time to invade western Pennsylvania!” while streams of mussels jump out of a ship and into the water. Her accompanying letter warns of the endangerment of native mussels and recommends that boaters clean their boats to help fix the problem.”Boaters of western Pennsylvania need to take action now to prevent Zebra mussels from causing more damage than they already have. All parts of your boat should be thoroughly washed each time you pull it from the water. You should also inform others about the zebra mussel issue and tell them to wash their boats before it is too late!”

While there can only be three winners for each portion of the challenge, all of these students are winners for learning how to articulately express their environmental concerns to the general public. Students from all three winning schools will be interviewed on the Saturday Light Brigade this Saturday, April 27, at 10:35am. The Saturday Light Brigade can be heard every Saturday morning on WRCT 88.3 FM. It also streams live at slbradio.org where the interview will be archived under Neighborhood Voices.

The above photos were taken by Kate Borger.

March 8, 2013

The Bake Sale, Reinvented: Middle School Challenge #4 for the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps

by Melissa Harding

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Third place entry from Moon Middle School, Cupcake Renaissance.

During the latest challenge of the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps, students were tasked with reinvented the traditional school bake sale. 215 middle school students from 15 schools took existing recipes for baked goods like cookies and cupcakes and transformed them into healthier versions. Recipes could include natural sweeteners only. Of course, they still had to be delicious; challengers brought their recipes in to their classmates for a taste test. Tasters rated these treats with a rubric that included overall appeal, mouth feel, texture and taste. Finally, every entry submitted was accompanied by a photo and an essay explaining the need for rethinking the traditional school bake sale and the ways in which their recipe was healthier than traditional sweets. As usual, area students rose to the challenge, creating entries that ranged from banana-cookie sandwiches to lemon biscotti.

The winning entry, Chocolate-Chip Banana Bites, was submitted by two students from Mellon Middle School. Adapted from an already existing recipe, these students used oat flour in place of processed white flour, coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, and raw German rock sugar instead of white sugar.  After baking, the students then made them into cookie sandwiches using frozen bananas in place of ice cream. The result is a healthier, but still delicious, version of an ice cream sandwich.  Their classmates gave these treats unanimously high marks!

The second place entry, Hubbard Squash Muffins, was submitted by a student from The Woodland Hills Academy. Using squash, whole wheat flour and organic sugar, this student created a treat that not only tastes great, but also provides antioxidants and healthy fats. This student also included the spice cardamom, which is credited with being rich in iron and manganese. This low calorie treat got great marks from its tasters; they liked it so much that they even left comments – “Yummy! Great!”.

The third place entry, Cupcake Renaissance, was submitted by a student from Moon Area Middle School. A regular cupcake can contain 600 calories and 20 grams of fat; this creative student replaced the butter with unsweetened applesauce and frosted her creations with berry compote instead of icing.  Using fresh strawberries and blueberries and natural cane sugar, this frosting substitute is not only healthier, but also provides antioxidants to boost immunity.

Earning Honorable Mention, Woodland Hills Jr. High School and Woodland Hills Academy submitted several recipes that they worked on as a class. In order to provide a healthier alternative at an upcoming bake sale for the school musical, the class took three traditional recipes and used a list of substitutions – agave nectar, oat flour, applesauce, egg whites, and coconut sugar – to improve them. They experimented with brownies, biscotti and muffins, trying to create the perfect bake sale treat. Throughout their experiments, they learned that it can be hard to change existing recipes, especially since many of the ingredients are necessary to the consistency of the product. They also learned that applesauce can easily take the place of oil and reducing the sugar doesn’t often affect the taste. As taste testers, the cast of the school play was happy to give all of these treats the thumbs-up!

While there can only be three winners in the competition, all the students who learned how to make their favorite treats healthier for everyone are winners! Students from all three winning schools will be interviewed on the Saturday Light Brigade this Saturday, March 9, at 10:05am. The Saturday Light Brigade can be heard every Saturday morning on WRCT 88.3 FM. It also streams live at slbradio.org where the interview will be archived under Neighborhood Voices.

If you would like to attempt the first and second place recipes, check them out on the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps blog!

The above photo is courtesy of  Moon Middle School.

December 6, 2012

Tune In: “You Unplugged: Nearby Nature” Essay Winners on the Radio this Saturday!

by Melissa Harding

molly steinwald nature technology disconnect youth phipps

Saturday, Dec 8 at 10:05 am, The Saturday Light Brigade family radio station will feature a 25-min interview with two middle school student You Unplugged: Nearby Nature essay winners from the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps competition. A total of 579 students from around the Pittsburgh area wrote reflective essays in response to the challenge of tracking for one day both their entertainment technology use and nearby nature interactions, then giving up entertainment technology entirely for a second day and seeing how it affected them and their connection to nearby nature. Hear from the winning essayists about the challenge and what they learned from it!

The Saturday Light Brigade can be heard every Saturday morning on WRCT 88.3 FM. It also streams live at slbradio.org where the interview will be archived under Neighborhood Voices.

And read more about the You Unplugged: Nearby Nature challenge and the Fairchild Challenge competition at the previous blog post.

The above picture was taken and is copyrighted by Molly Steinwald.

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