“The first three words that come to mind when describing Margo to others are: engaging, passionate, and creative. Margo engaged my students through after-school garden program in many topics involving plant nutrition and urban gardening. She was very passionate about establishing our very first garden and had many ideas for the future of the gardening program at our school. Margo led the after-school gardening program on a weekly basis with a group of approximately 10-12 high school students ranging from freshmen to seniors. The garden program was highly engaging and interactive for the students and myself; for all but one of the students, this was their very first time gardening, and the experience and skills that they gained can be applied to both their academic and home lives. From starting seeds in the classroom, planting, and tending the garden outdoors to nutrition lessons in the classroom, harvesting, and having a “salad party” picnic on our lawn, the students gained a great deal of knowledge and enjoyment from the gardening program overall.”

– Theresa Nguyen, Health Science Instructor, UIC College Prep

“In March 2014, Rowe Elementary partnered with non-profit Gardeneers to launch our garden education program. During the school year and summer programs, Margo and her colleagues worked on a weekly basis with a number of students ranging from K-5th grade. They led the garden program during school hours, and founded our after-school gardening club for 1st and 2nd graders (including winter/indoor programming). In August 2015, we launched the garden program at our middle school annex, where Margo worked with groups of 6th-8th graders.  She communicated with numerous staff members to coordinate the garden schedule, as well as curriculum crossover and support in the classroom.

Under Margo’s leadership, our garden flourished along with the bountiful harvest that the students were able to enjoy. She initiated our garden-to-cafeteria program by collaborating with our Foodservice Manager in order to integrate fresh garden produce into the salad bar. Parents and staff were impressed with our beautiful ‘learning gardens.’

Offering social-emotional support to students is a staple component of the culture here at Rowe. Margo successfully worked with these students to support their social-emotional needs.  Her work added great value to our educational programming here at Rowe.” – Bryan Heidel
School-Based Student Support Manager, 
Communities in Schools
Rowe Elementary School, Operated by Northwestern Settlement

“Margo Mejia is a stand out individual who is very knowledgeable about gardening, farming, and sustainability.  Margo started a Gardening Club at Lieberman center and came in to assess what our needs were.  She took into account what our residents’ mobility and needs were and planned how we were going to make our garden area and tools more accessible for them.  Margo made a comprehensive plan on what we were doing from week to week so residents were excited about the upcoming weeks.  With Margo’s help, our residents revamped our existing garden beds that were overrun with weeds. After planting and tending to the garden, together they harvested herbs and vegetables and made snacks with them.  The club also sold some of their harvest with the proceeds going to our garden fund.   Margo is a one of a kind gem who is great with our residents.”

– Jessica Brooks AD CDP CADDCT, Life Enrichment & Creative Arts Manager, Lieberman Center for Health and Rehabilitation

Feedback from the teens in the Environmental Justice Changemakers program (Summer 2020):

“This program most definitely shaped me more as a person, in such a short amount of time. This program really opened my eyes to what was around me, and made me appreciate our environment more, also more aware of the issues around us. I learned so much that I can’t even specify. All of my fellow change makers empowered and inspired me everyday and will continue to do so. I would love to [do] this program again! Thank you margo for making this such an awesome experience.” – Skyy, age 15 

“My biggest takeaway is that us kids are actually the future of climate justice, and we are actually in charge of what happens next.” – Simon, age 15

“I learned a lot! I learned some things about EJ that I had no idea about before, it empowered me to make a change in my personal life, and also to encourage my family and my peers to make changes in their own life. One of my favorite topics to discuss was the deforestation of the Amazon, because there were so many aspects that went into it. It was also very heartbreaking and even angering at some points!” – McKenzie, age 15

“I loved this program, it taught me so much new important information. I’m much more aware of the major environmental issues. I’ve started using much less plastic, I started using reusable produce bags,  I started composting, and I grew a bunch of food! I’m hoping to make more powerful changes in the future, I’m proud to say this program has given me that push. I don’t have a favorite topic, although I really enjoyed learning about air pollution (since I tested the air pollution in my city) and zero waste. The teacher was very engaging and full of life, it definitely made the program even better.” – Jennifer, age 15

“I came into this not knowing anything and wanting to be educated on environmental justice, but I came out knowing new things. I really love this program thanks to Margo.” – Eryn, age 18

“Thanks again for teaching us in the Environment Justice program! I had so much fun and learned a lot… I do wish the program was longer, the weeks went by fast!” – Kaylani, age 18