AUSTIN (KXAN) – After wild hogs destroyed an Austin school garden over several nights, a teacher is asking the community for help to stop the hogs. Austin Discovery School, a charter school in east Austin, has a school garden where students can grow food, learn about nutrition and broaden the taste buds of “picky eaters.”
“Even those kids that are like, ‘I don’t like carrots’ are then all of a sudden eating a carrot that they just pulled out of the ground. They’re like, ‘Oh, actually, this was pretty good,'” Thora Gray, the school’s EcoWellness teacher, said.
Unfortunately, wild hogs have wrecked the garden several times over the past two years — most recently uprooting carrots and tomatoes.
“We had such a nice crop of carrots this year, and we had just put our tomatoes on the ground for the season,” Gray said. “And they came through, and they just destroyed everything. They uprooted everything, and it’s just awful. Just really awful. It’s really just sad and devastating.”
The school is in a woody area backing up to the Colorado River. Gray said deer, a bobcat and skunks have been seen on campus, and even the sounds of coyotes have been heard howling at night. But hogs are causing a headache, and losing the students’ carrots right before harvest was the last straw, Gray said.
“[The students] were like ‘Oh, man, the hogs again,'” Gray said. “It’s just kind of a disappointment. You really want to get to the place where the kids are getting to not just like, pull the weeds and water and sow the seeds — but getting to enjoy every single step of it. I mean, that’s when you really hook kids into a healthy nutrition plan.”
The best option for the school is to build a fence around the garden to keep hogs out, Gray said.
Gray said she started a GoFundMe so the school can buy hog pen fencing around the garden to protect the student’s work. The goal is to raise $5,000. As of Monday afternoon, the fundraiser has nearly $1,300.
As for the rest of the school year, Gray said they are still planting summer crops with the hope they won’t be destroyed.