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Students Cultivate Connections Through Genesis Garden

Students pose in front of Genesis Garden

For the two lead student caretakers of the Gibson Ek Genesis Garden, inspiration stems more from humans than plants.

Senior Dylan Maddux co-runs the school garden after cultivating his own garden at home in honor of his grandfather, who passed away when he was young. 

“My grandpa was a gardener, and I wanted to continue what he did in his memory,” says Dylan, who hopes to work for the U.S. Forest Service after graduation. 

Sophomore Jayce Grant’s interest grew from his connection with garden founder and '22 grad Connor Lo, who now studies kinesiology at Cal Poly. Jayce remembers Connor taking the time to talk to him on his third day of school last year.

“He became my student that I looked up to, and I kind of followed him around,” Jayce says. “It’s really great that I can do something that he sort of stoked the flames for.”

Dylan and Jayce have, in turn, inspired about a dozen students – most of them new freshmen – to join the garden club. By the end of this growing season in October, the club had gathered about 150 pounds of fresh produce for their weekly deliveries to the Issaquah Food Bank.

They’ve applied to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be designated as a People’s Garden. In the coming year, they hope to paint the garden beds, add drip irrigation, renovate the chicken coop fence, add garden beds to the fence line, build a trellis and trellis tunnel, and add beans and other vine plants.

Garden co-advisor Victoria Mott says it’s been wonderful to see students come out of their shells after COVID isolation and connect with each other on projects such as the garden.

“Our kids here, we have experts in so many things,” she says. “If you can just be brave enough to talk to someone and make a new friend, it’s amazing what can happen.” 

(Back row, left to right, is Jayce Grant, Dylan Maddux and advisor Victoria Mott.)

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