The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Child Development Center garden vandalized for second time


June 7, 2017

Wendell Sloan

Eastern New Mexico University Child Development Center Director Lara Vaughn poses with a squash plant, one of the only survivors of a mass uprooting of the CDC's garden.

PORTALES — Any hopes for an enjoyable experiment for the children of Eastern New Mexico University's Child Development Center has been literally uprooted as of Monday morning.

CDC Director Lara Vaughn was mortified to discover that a garden planted through a United States Department of Agriculture grant before the end of the spring semester — containing green beans, peas and squash seeds — had been destroyed.

"I was shocked, because I turned to look to beauty, and I saw nothing. It was really disappointing. I got closer, and I realized, 'Wait. Someone literally came and took our plants away,'" she said.

The only suitable explanation for Vaughn is that the incident was purely an act of vandalism.

"There was no benefit to them. Those plants didn't survive, most certainly. It's not like they took them home to grow green beans. They were not yet blooming, but they had grown about 10 inches tall," she said. "I think it's ridiculous. Did they walk by and go, 'Oh look, here's something I can destroy?'"

The horror of the desecrated garden was compounded for Vaughn by the fact that this was not the first time the CDC had experienced this type of incident. In 2014, pumpkins planted by students were abducted from the same location.

"The children were like, 'Where are all the pumpkins?' They were just totally shocked. When they realized someone took them without asking, they just could not believe someone would do that," she said. "Their first response when I said someone took them without asking was, 'You can't do that. You have to ask first.' Another one said, 'It's not hard. You just say, 'May I have one?'"

By reaching out to state and local media, Vaughn hopes to show others that actions can have consequences, regardless of whether they directly affect that person.

"Their (the vandals) consequence will come to them in one way or another, whether it be right now or as they develop a pattern of poor choices that end them up in jail later," she said. "What I really want is for anyone who notices this story to realize the effects that this perpetrator had, how they were far-reaching beyond the little plant, and if the offender themselves actually sees the story, that they would go, 'Oh my goodness,' and have a realization that their actions were far more than just a little plant they pulled out of the ground."


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