Just one day after Graham Hill Elementary School students celebrated Earth Day with a work party designed to clean up the campus and plant seeds and starts for the upcoming growing season, the school’s greenhouse and garden were vandalized Saturday night.
Cambria Cox, the school’s garden coordinator, discovered the destruction on Sunday morning when she arrived to water the freshly planted garden, and instead, found plants ripped out and thrown around, pots overturned, watering cans kicked around, vents broken, and more. Even the school’s greenhouse was trashed.
It wasn’t the first time the Seward Park school has been targeted, Cox said that just last weekend, the campus was tagged with graffiti, and while she called it a “heartbreaking” situation, she added that the school community will not be deterred.
As she wrote on the school’s gardening blog:
Why bother? Why spend the energy in creating something beautiful only to see it destroyed?
But then I think of Jemaimah and Jimenah and how excited they were to plant strawberries, or how Shamsoh, Ikram and Charina ask me every time I see them “When do we get to garden again?” or how excited every kid gets when they look in the worm bin and see those red wrigglers at work, or the beautiful notes and drawings I’ve received from students saying how much they love going to the greenhouse.
I look through the windows of classrooms with pride when I see flowers blooming outside and green leaves blowing in the wind. I think of how fun it is to learn about gardening alongside of an 8-year old and watching a tiny seed turn into a huge sunflower.
For you Isaiah, Ari, Mu, Sydney, Maelea, Jaiden, Marcello, and all of my garden buddies at Graham Hill — this is all for you. This work is important.
We will just have to climb out from under the rock that got placed on us and keep reaching toward the sun.
She added in an email, “We got things cleaned up and are moving on. The plants are resilient and so are we!”
UPDATE (Tues., April 19): The Graham Hill Elementary School garden was vandalized again Sunday night. From Cambria Cox, the school’s garden coordinator:
The starts I was able to salvage on Saturday were dumped out and stomped on.
I have filed a second police report, called the District security number and left a message, and will also contact the South Precinct community outreach officer and ask him for advice.
Cox is hoping that a local security company will donate a motion sensor light and/or video camera and that Seattle Police Department will increase patrols in the area to help prevent additional property damage.
Go here to learn more or to donate to the Graham Hill Garden Program. Photos/Cambria Cox