Static: Wednesday, November 21, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Planting Ideas

“When I read about those kids’ gardens being dug up, I got so damn mad that I knew I had to do something to show them that all elected folks out here aren’t middle-aged crazies on a power-trip.”

County Criminal Court Judge and forester Daryl Coffey, who grew up in the woods of Kentucky and still manages a 3,000-acre mixed forest there, was talking about FWISD trustee Elaine Klos’ insistence that school workers “clean out the gardens” belonging to the science students of the Applied Learning Academy — a direction that was taken all too literally by maintenance workers. (“Destroying a Garden to Beautify,” Nov. 14, 2002).

On Friday, Coffey showed up at science teacher Denise Gordon’s mid-morning class dressed for action in jeans and boots, to share with the kids a tree-in-a-bucket ready to plant and a lecture on good government, free speech, an unfettered press, and environmentally sound ways to manage forests and gardens. He brought samples of various hardwoods, passed them around for the kids to rub and smell. (The cedar drew the most oohs and aahs.) The talk was lively, peppered with stories from Coffey’s Cumberland County childhood and the disasters — floods, tornadoes, arson — that he’s dealt with as a forester.

“I know how hurt your feelings are over your garden. .... It’s one thing to see something you’ve planted and nurtured destroyed by nature, but to see it destroyed deliberately at the hands of humans, well, that’s the worst hurt in the world,” he said, telling them of his anger as he walked over the charred remains of a part of his forest destroyed by an arsonist. “What happened to him?” a student asked. “He went away.” Pause. “To the state pen.” Cheers erupted.

With a promise to help the students replenish their gardens with the same kinds of plants that were thrown into dumpsters, plus a few pointers on keeping the Bermuda grass out, Coffey left the students with restored faith in the adult world, Gordon said.

Coffey was equally impressed. “These are bright kids,” he said. “They aren’t shy, and they asked good questions. We (elected officials) need to get out in the schools and get in discussions with these kids on a regular basis. They’ve got plenty to teach us.”

As for Klos, Coffey said, “I don’t even know the lady ... but I don’t think I want to.”

Email this Article...

Back to Top


Copyright 2002 to 2017 FW Weekly.
3311 Hamilton Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76107
Phone: (817) 321-9700 - Fax: (817) 335-9575 - Email Contact
Archive System by PrimeSite Web Solutions