Seed Your Future and Scholastic are proud to announce the winners of the Planting Your Solution Contest. Hundreds of middle-schoolers across the country identified environmental challenges in their communities and proposed their own unique plant-based solutions to those issues. The entries included an illustration and an essay describing the environmental challenge and the proposed plant-based solution. A Grand Prize Winner was selected in each of the contest’s three categories, and an additional Sweepstakes winner was drawn randomly from all entries.
The contest was predicated on a robust suite of lesson plans and activities created by Seed Your Future and Scholastic and delivered to students inside and outside of the classroom. These materials are part of the BLOOM! campaign to educate and inspire young people about the power of plants and green-collar career opportunities.
Grand Prize - Best Environmental Challenge Identification
Keana H., 8th grade, Bayard, NM
"In my home town, Hurley, N.M., smokestacks owned by the nearby smelter have polluted the soil throughout the town with heavy metals. Although the smokestacks have been removed, along with some of the dirt, many yards still contain contaminated soil. I propose that sunflowers (Helianthus annus) be planted in those areas. They aid in the process of phytoremediation, allowing all the heavy metals to enter the plant. Leaving only good soil when removed for gardening and healthy grass."
Grand Prize - Best Plant-Based Solution Description
Claire W., 7th grade, Rockford, IL
"I want to try to fix water pollution. My solution for water pollution is to have water purifiers. Bulrushes and rushes are excellent purifiers. They remove unwanted nutrients from the water like oil and bacteria. E.coli and salmonella are some examples of bacteria. Bulrushes and rushes also eliminate heavy metals such as copper, nickel, and zinc. I think we should plant these in the Rock River. We should put them near or in the water. We should plant these along the Rock River until it flows into the Mississippi River."
Grand Prize - Most Creative Use of Plants
Barrett J., 8th grade, Holladay, UT
"Planting rapeseed in soil erosion-prone areas will help stop soil erosion. Rapeseed also helps to enhance forage. It is also drought tolerant and heat tolerant, which makes it very capable to survive in Utah's dry, hot climate. Rapeseed can also be harvested for vegetable oil and protein meal, which would make it profitable to plant."
Allie F., 6th grade, Perry, NY
"My plant-based solution is to fill potholes and cracks with plants. We can find a plant mixture that can harden and fill in these holes. This will make it safer to ride your bike, go on a walk, and even ride in cars."