Youth Solve Environmental Challenges with Innovative Plant-Based Solutions

June 11, 2019
Contact: Susan Yoder

Youth Solve Environmental Challenges with Innovative Plant-Based Solutions

Seed Your Future and Scholastic Announce Winners of the Planting Your Solution Contest


MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (June 11, 2019) – 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.


PYS_AllFinalists_Spring2019_KeanaH.jpgThe Grand Prize Winner for Challenge Identification — 8th grader Keana H. from Bayard, NM shared her concern that “…smokestacks owned by the near-by smelter have polluted the soil throughout the town with heavy metals.”  She notes that “… even though the smokestacks have been removed … many yards still contain contaminated soil.” Her plant-based solution is to plant sunflowers because “…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.”


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.


Eighth-grader Barret J. from Holladay, UT proposed planting rapeseed to help with soil erosion. His Grand Prize-winning entry for Most Creative Use of Plants pointed out that in addition to helping with erosion, rapeseed “…also helps to enhance forage. It is also drought tolerant … and can be harvested for vegetable oil and protein meal, which would make it a profitable plant.”


PYS_AllFinalists_Spring2019_ClaireW.jpgThe Grand Prize Winner for Solution Identification, 7th grader Claire W. from Rockford, IL wrote with passion that she wants “… to try to fix water pollution.” Her plant-based solution is to plant “… water purifiers. Bulrushes and rushes are excellent purifiers. They remove unwanted items from the water like oil and bacteria — E.coli and salmonella are some examples of bacteria. (They) also eliminate heavy metals such as copper, nickel and zinc.” Her local solution is to “…plant these all along the Rock River.”


Sweepstakes Winner, 6th grader Allie F. from Perry, NY offered a solution to the “cracked sidewalks and roads” in many communities. She proposes “…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!”


“Youth have told us that they want to help solve some of the most pressing problems in our world today,” said Susan E. Yoder, executive director of Seed Your Future. “They hear about air pollution, noise pollution, food deserts, climate change, world-hunger and more and they’re anxious to do something about it. The students who entered our contest offered inspiring solutions to the problems they see around them. They are our future green-collar workers — and the future looks bright!”


Student winners receive prizes from Scholastic and Seed Your Future. Teachers of all winning students also receive prizes to help support their future efforts to introduce youth to a lifelong passion or a fulfilling career in the green-collar world. Read the winners’ full submissions, along with their accompanying illustrations at:  



About BLOOM!

BLOOM! is the movement to improve the world through the power of plants. Through eye-catching content delivered both inside and outside of the classroom, BLOOM! is inspiring youth across the U.S. to appreciate the plant world and ensure horticulture – and the millions of people who depend on it – thrives well into the future. With more opportunities to get involved in horticulture than ever before, BLOOM! is built to introduce youth to a lifelong passion – and perhaps even a career. Learn more and find your plant power at


About Seed Your Future

Seed Your Future is a national movement to promote horticulture and inspire people to pursue careers working with plants. Supported by more than 150 partner organizations, we envision a U.S. where everyone understands and values the importance of plants and the people who work in the art, science, technology and business of horticulture. For information, visit us at