The UIC Heritage Garden internship program aims to establish a sustainable educational model with activities that can help mobilize other students on campus around environmental and cultural sustainability issues. 

Internship Program Goals

  • Expand academic, professional, and leadership capacity within the student intern group by:

    • Developing gardening/farming skills that builds on diverse cultural knowledges to support ecosystem wellness,

    • Expanding and practicing intercultural skills,

    • Drawing on a curriculum from diverse perspectives to make connections between social and environmental issues,

    • Providing structured activities that require group collaboration and individual commitment.

  • Expand UIC’s sustainability efforts with a justice framework that integrates social and environmental issues by:

    • Sharing our justice framework with other UIC students through tours of the gardens, our two annual public events, and participation in other campus efforts,

    • Engaging with communities and city-wide efforts to exchange knowledge and resources that can infuse relevance to our work.

      We accomplish this goals through educational activities including: 

  • Intellectual Framework Discussion- Students participate in an orientation discussion about the project framework and its link to various research studies as well as regional, city and UIC plans addressing environmental sustainability and cultural diversity.

  • Hands on Horticulture and Demonstrations- Students carry out best gardening practices and engage in daily work in the satellite sites. Student also organize three volunteer days to engage the UIC community in sharing horticultural knowledge and connecting social and environmental justice.

  • Monarch Conservation- Students participate in monarch butterfly conservation. This includes the research and practice of raising the monarchs, documenting their behavior patterns, tagging and tracking how many monarchs were raised and released.

  • Native Plants- Students work with an instructor from the Native American community to maintain the Shikaakwa satellite created in collaboration with the American Indian Center of Chicago.

  • Mobile Seed Library and Educational Toolkit- Students collect, research, and archive seeds for the Seed Library and update Toolkit materials as needed.

  • Field Days- Students participate in facilitated site tours of various community organizations and institutions working on environmental sustainability and social justice.

  • Field Museum Engagement- Three Wednesdays during the summer, students participate in various cultural and environmental activities/workshops led by Field Museum scientists.

  • Readings and Discussions- Students participate in reading discussions related to environmental sustainability, cultural diversity, and social justice issues.

  • Research- Students 1) collect stories from families, friends, and members of their community about environmentally friendly practices; 2) collect family recipes to document how the recipes have changed over time; and 3) identify culturally significant plants for the garden and complete profile of plants for the website.

  • Public Programs- Students organize and present the Harvest Festival in the Fall and the Seed Swapping in the Sprint semesters to highlight the garden and internship program to our campus and neighboring communities.

  • Garden Tours- Students are trained by LCC staff to give tours of the garden satellites and the Environmental & Social Pollinators Art installation in the bio-swale.

  • Creative Projects- Students work with local artists on projects to make explicit connections between environmental sustainability, cultural diversity, and social justice.

  • Community Engagement– Students participate at several community events around environmental justice and monarch butterfly conservation. These include resource fairs, conferences, and general community events.

  • Documentation and Dissemination- Students document and disseminate program activities and progress through a variety of methods and tools including photography, social media and the UIC Heritage Garden website.