Today we started off by having breakfast at our hotel and wishing Student Service Program member, Emma, happy birthday! Next we went to Grimal Grove, which is a historic botanical garden which was effected by Hurricane Irma in the fall.

Grimal Grove has a very interesting history. It was started by Adolf Grimal, a gardener and inventor, who moved to the Keys to start his garden. The garden is home to many rare plants, so of which are the only of their kind in the United States. After Grimal passed away, the property was left vacant for many years. Patrick Garvey took over the property and transformed it into a botanical garden and sustainable garden. Grimal Grove focused on education and youth outreach.

Unfortunately, Grimal Grove was almost destroyed by Hurricane Irma. Today, we headed over the Grove to help out. I started off by pulling weeds and re-mulching around a few plants. I also worked on repairing the fences around these plants. Some members of the group picked up trash, painted the garden’s face, or helped move around equipment in the garden. Others spread mulch, secured fences, or pulled weeds. As a group, we planted many trees throughout the garden.

We all really enjoyed today’s service project. I hope to come back some day and see the garden returned to its former glory.

– Olivia Olson