More than 100 high school students participated in the 13th annual Fairchild Challenge Student Environmental Debates on Biodiversity. The debates took place on Saturday, Jan. 31, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables.
The students were divided into various teams and debated on numerous topics affecting biodiversity. Team A topics included the development of endangered lands, funding for endangered species protection and amending the Clean Water Act. Team B topics included banning GMO crops which interact with biodiversity of pollinators/ecosystems, allocating funds to ecosystem services in developing countries to mitigate climate change and adding an environmental tax on recreational vehicles to offset negative impacts on biodiversity.
After the debates ended, the following students were recognized:
Leigh Bouskila and Tamir Rabinovich, South Plantation High School, first place Team A;
Emily Utset and Danielle Vinales, Archimedean Upper Conservatory Academy, first place Team B;
Camila Basora-Oliveira and Rafaela Valderrama, St. Brendan High School, second place Team A;
Meryl Kornfield and Sarah Siclait, Miami Palmetto Senior High School, second place Team B.
Participating high schools were Archimedean Upper Conservatory Academy, Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High, Barbara Goleman Senior High, Christopher Columbus High School, Cutler Bay Academy of Advanced Studies – Centennial Campus, Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High, International Studies Preparatory Academy, John A. Ferguson Senior High School, Jose Marti, MAST 6-12 Academy, MAST @ FIU, Miami Killian Senior High, Miami Northwestern Senior High, Miami Palmetto Senior High, South Plantation High, St. Brendan High and TERRA Environmental Research Institute.