Nature always is in fashion during Fairchild Challenge

Students model some of the flora fashions from the annual Fairchild Challenge Botanical Fashion Show.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables hosted the annual Fairchild Challenge Botanical Fashion Show on Saturday, Dec. 3.

This year, middle and high school students got the opportunity to be models and show off the accessories they designed made exclusively from plants including shoes, purses, hats, belts, parasols and jewelry.

All of the student models descended the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s majestic “Stairway of Style” at the Visitors Center before a panel of judges. Elementary school students did a parade of animal species (masks). Hundreds of teachers, environmental supporters and the local community attended. Some 140 high school students from 30 high schools and 169 middle school students from 28 middle schools competed.

Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, Fairchild Challenge is a multidisciplinary, environmental education outreach program for elementary and secondary school students. The Fairchild Challenge encourages students to appreciate the beauty and value of nature.

Each year before the fashion show, students are asked to research and design horticultural accessories and to provide in a written statement the scientific and common names and useful properties of the plants, as well as their origins. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, located at 10901 Old Cutler Rd., one of the premier conservation and education-based gardens in the world, is a recognized international leader in both Florida and international conservation.

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