The Atrium at the Upper School is seeing new life in the form of a Wellness Garden, as students and teachers work to transform a popular area on campus into a space for relaxation and meditation.
The inspiration for the garden came following the loss of then-sophomore Javier Cañedo in March 2019, as students spontaneously congregated in the heart of the school (the Atrium) to comfort each other and meditate. The idea for a Wellness Garden in the Atrium was born, and the project has since evolved into a multidisciplinary effort including engineering, visual arts, biomedical science, and STEM students and teachers.
Students in the National Art Honor Society (NAHS) collaborated with members of the HEAL Club on a vision to bring some color to campus in the form of planter box murals. They created draft mock-ups of different drawings for each planter, turned them into a digital format, and spent five nights using projectors to hand draw mural outlines on the planters. NAHS students have now spent several days, outside of regular school hours, painting the murals.
After the murals are complete, HEAL Club and biomed students will plant new herb plants such as thyme, mint, rosemary, and basil, in each planter garden. Students are also working to replace the ornamental exotic plants that currently surround the palm trees in the Atrium with native plants. These plants will match the flora and fauna types depicted on each planter mural – coco plum, American beauty berry, Fakahatchee or Muhly grass, dwarf fire bush – and should be completed by the end of the month.
Engineering students are currently developing a design for a recycling waterfall on the largest planter in the Atrium, to enhance the area around an existing plaque. Due to new constraints, it may have to be solar powered. The goal is to complete the waterfall by the end of this school year, as well as incorporate a mangrove nursery in the area.
Future plans for the garden include involving even more students and departments in the project, furthering the collaboration on a wellness space for everyone at the Upper School.
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