OPTIONAL National Challenge: Commemorative Coin – American Icons

For Individuals or Groups (2-5 students per group) — Maximum points: 100 (50 per entry; 2 entries per school)

YOUR CHALLENGE: As the Plant Conservation Alliance celebrates 25 years of advancing plant conservation and promoting native plant community restoration, they need your help to design a commemorative coin that honors iconic plants native to the United States. Plants play an important role in our nation’s ecosystems while also being symbols of local cultural heritage, defining the character of places, and influencing our experiences with the natural world where we live, work, and play. Identify a U.S. native plant that symbolizes the uniqueness of America’s landscapes and create an illustration for a coin that showcases your plant. Drawings must include a written description explaining why you selected this plant and how it is representative of the region’s cultural and natural heritage. Downloadable PDF

ENTRY SUBMISSION: Wednesday, December 15, 2021 by 5:00 pm

Electronically submit the following:

Uploaded PDF file to entry form includes:

  • Challenge coin design (Template)

  • Description

  • Bibliography

✓  Entry Requirements:
 On-line entry registration form must be completed
 Design, written description and bibliography must be saved as a single pdf file and uploaded to entry form. PDF file name must include school name and student name
 Entry accurately depicts a regionally iconic plant native to the United States or its Territories
 One-page written description includes: 1) scientific and common name of plant; 2) personal reflection on chosen plant; & 3) importance in region’s (see map) natural (include plant community, ecosystem) and cultural heritage
 Artwork must be an original hand-rendered (2-D flat) design created by the student
 Entry should be drawn within a circle on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper (see template). Entry may be in black and white or color: in ink, pen, pencil, fine-point marker or paint. Simple lines are best and avoid color gradients
 Bibliography must be submitted citing at least 3 sources, following MLA or APA format
 On-time entry submission (late entries may not receive points)

Students will be able to participate in this year’s National Challenge to earn up to 100 bonus points for their school. Each school may submit 2 entries worth 50 points each.

For more information on how your submission will be evaluated, see National Challenge Evaluation Sheet

This Challenge meets various state standards, visit National Challenge State: Benchmarks
This Challenge meets various national standards, visit National Challenge Benchmarks: Elementary Schools


  • Project Video – Dr. Patricia D., Botanist at US Fish & Wildlife Service – Division of Scientific Authority
  • U.S. Regions Map (See entry requirements)

Background information:

Additional Resources to assist student/teacher participation with the American Icon Challenge


Resources for Teachers