STEAM Challenge

a row of pine trees with brown trunks and green needles

Tree “App”reciation

Did you know that you can make a difference on your school grounds and in your local community? Are you ready to create something new that could benefit the environment? Think like an arborist and plan like an application designer by participating in this year’s Longwood Gardens STEAM challenge. This year, we are challenging students to develop an app that has a tree focus and benefits their school grounds or local community.

This contest is part of the Longwood Gardens Community Read. Each Spring Longwood and our community partners—gardens, museums, and conservation organizations, as well as many public libraries—explore books about plants, gardens and nature through a series of programs and discussions throughout the region. This year’s community read begs the question: “what would a tree tell us if we just took the time to listen?”

Students will have the chance to be innovative and use the topic of trees as their platform to create an app that serves the purpose of their choosing. The top 10 teams chosen will be required to build their app and create a 5-minute video describing how it benefits their school grounds or local community. Monetary prizes will be awarded to the top three teams to assist in greening their school grounds or local community.

To Enter

Step 1: Form a group of up to four students, grades 6–12.

Step 2: Research what apps already exist that have a tree focus. Think of an idea for an innovative new app around the topic of trees. 

Step 3: Submit the application form, along with the team’s app description and a mockup of the design. 

  • Be sure to read all the requirements and the official rules section before submitting your application. Applications are due January 28, 2022 by 5:00 pm. 
  • Teams that are chosen to participate in the final round will be notified by e-mail by February 4, 2022. 

Step 4: Top 10 teams selected for final round:

  • Build their app.
  • Submit a video about their app by April 22, 2022 by 5:00 pm. 
  • Top three winning teams will be announced on Arbor Day, April 29, 2022. 


What grade level is appropriate for Tree "App"reciation?
This contest is designed for 6th–12th grade students.

Who is this contest meant for?
This contest is meant for any 6th–12th grade student to participate in. We welcome public schools, private schools, charter schools, cyber schools, home school co-op groups and after school groups (Scouts, etc.) to participate.

Do I have to see my students in person to participate?
We have prepared this contest to be done with students either in person or virtually. So, no matter if you are seeing your students in person, virtually, or hybrid, students are still able to participate!

What if my students are not located close to Longwood Gardens?
No problem! We have designed the contest to be completed in your space and the contest submission pieces are designed to be done via video submission.

What are the deadlines?

  • Teachers or group leaders must sign up to receive the program materials by January 26, 2022.
  • Contest applications are due by January 28, 2022 at 5:00 pm.
  • The top 10 teams chosen from the applications will need to submit their contest videos by April 22, 2022 at 5:00 pm.

Additional Questions?

School and Youth Programs

Ready to bring this program to your students?

Registration is closed. Please check back for upcoming opportunities.