Chicago, IL // Spring 2021

The Uplift Community High School Green Team focused on creating healthy homes and habits during COVID and beyond. Diet, exercise, and stress management are three health habits that have suffered over the last year. To address stress, the students researched the calming effects of nature and then designed and built home herb gardens.

The Green Schools Mentors from FGM Architects facilitated a workshop to highlight the design process and the 5 steps of the Design Thinking Process (Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test) using the student herb garden build project as an example. During the workshop the students were able to tap into their creative thinking skills to design with environmental and health-conscious decisions in mind. Additionally, the students made a cookbook of healthy, easy, and inexpensive recipes along with some fun and cultural recipes from the school community and then cooked (and of course ate) some of them. Finally, the students researched and proposed an 11 minute per day exercise program and simple stress relief program to be incorporated into the remote school day and hopefully the regular school day.

Project type: Indoor Environmental Quality, Native Plant or Food Garden

Connecting to Nature and Self

The Mentors ran a brainstorm session with the students to help think through what nature means to them. The workshop became the foundation for planning out environmental & self care habits.

Students across the school compiled family and cultural recipes into a cookbook (coming soon!) The herbs from the garden will be used in cooking the recipes.


  • 5 students
  • 8 educators
  • 4 community members

Educators & Staff:

  • TJ Pavlov, STEAM Program Manager
  • Karen Zaccor, Teacher


  • Nadia Lohse, FGM Architects
  • Kelly McCaffrey, FGM Architects
  • Brian Meade, FGM Architects