Third-grade students at Merryhill School worked to restore their garden and wildlife area on Wednesday, after arriving for class and finding that vandals had uprooted plants and done other damage overnight.
“The students are very saddened that (someone) in the Davis community would destroy animal habitat and can’t understand the motivation,” said Claudette Landry, principal of the private elementary school on Lillard Drive in South Davis.
In September, the third-grade students in Sarah Roche’s class planted seeds — lettuce, chives, carrots and cauliflower — in a raised bed. They considered planting broccoli — all six of the third-graders helping with the garden indicated they enjoy nibbling on that green, cruciferous vegetable. But they couldn’t find broccoli seed, and opted to plant cauliflower instead.
The students were excited to see tender green shoots coming up from the soil a week or two later.
Student Arman Varjavand and the others set up a watering schedule, “and once, I saw a little sprout come up” where they had planted the cauliflower seeds. “The lettuce grows really fast,” observed classmate Maddux Madayag. Another classmate, Logan Bauermeister, said the carrot seeds sent up “eentsy weentsy little sprouts” at first. Rickey Li noted that some of the vegetables seemed to have come up in pairs — “two each.”
The garden also included a bird bath, and two bird feeders — one with nectar for hummingbirds, the other with bird seed. The garden had been registered with the National Wildlife Federation as a wildlife habitat area. Students also prepared bird houses and hung them in trees.
The garden was vandalized on the night of Sept. 27, with the intruders damaging the bird houses, feeders and bird bath.
There was more damage sometime Tuesday night — some plants were uprooted, others were trampled. The hummingbird feeder was thrown in the school’s swimming pool, the bird seed was dumped out of the other feeder and the bird bath was toppled.
“I was mad when I got there,” said student Alexandra Fomina. “Why did they attack it a second time?”
Some of the garden greens were salvageable. “We all went outside before lunch and we started to replant the ones that weren’t dead,” said student Cole Wittkop.
Roche said, “I’m disappointed because of the effort and the responsibility that the kids had taken, planting the vegetables and making it a habitat for animals. That someone would destroy it twice, at a school, is saddening.”
Meanwhile, the Merryhill students are watering the plants they have left in their garden, and considering the possibility of planting some vegetable seeds that tend to thrive in Davis during the moderate afternoons and cool nights of autumn and early winter — perhaps some Swiss chard, fava beans or kale.
— Reach Jeff Hudson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8055.