Mimi Meyrick is a young woman growing up, growing plants and community at the same time. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Mimi Meyrick is a young woman growing up, growing plants and community at the same time. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

OUR HOMETOWN: Mimi Meyrick grows up with gardening

After witnessing the Stampede shooting, the teen dove into gardening

A mom would not have trouble being proud of Mimi Meyrick on Mother’s Day this year.

On the Friday before Mother’s Day, Mimi was delivering hanging baskets filled with plants she had grown herself to the Pregnancy Outreach in Williams Lake.

Recognizing some of the moms who access the many services of Pregnancy Outreach are single moms of very young children, Mimi knew some of them would not necessarily be getting anything for Mother’s Day.

“So I thought they deserved a little something for all the work they do,” she said in her project presentation.

The 17-year-old student has been working on her “capstone” project, a multi-faceted assignment which cumulates into a presentation, product or performance, for months leading towards her graduation this year. Each student gets to choose and design their own project.

The seed for her project was perhaps sewn in the many hours Mimi has enjoyed spending in the garden with her mom Joanne Meyrick, who is an avid gardener. The family lived on 10 acres in Horsefly when Mimi was young, along with her older sisters Gwenna and Vivien and dad Erich Zirnhelt. Out of the three sisters, Mimi said she was the most into gardening.

“I loved helping my mom garden,” she said.

“When she landed on plants (for her project) I thought it made a lot of sense,” recalled Joanne, “Mimi loved to hang out with me in the garden.”

But the project idea also came about as a result of Mimi having anxiety and trying to help her address her post-traumatic stress.

Mimi was at the Stampede Grounds on July 3, 2022 and was in the area where a shooting incident took place which resulted in two people being sent to hospital with gunshot wounds.

“It put me into a very sad mindset,” Mimi explained. A counsellor suggested she plant a courage garden to remember how beautiful life still is, and she said it immediately sparked her interest.

At her high school, Mimi joined the Horticulture Club and went every Tuesday and Thursday from 3 to 5 p.m., growing tomatoes, peppers, basil, and flowers.

She dove right into the group, enjoying the shared love for growing things, listening to music and just hanging out, and she shared her idea for the project with the teacher in charge of the club, Ms. Anderson.

She said Ms. Anderson mentored her through a lot of the finer points of growing plants. She also spent a day out at Frank’s Plants and Produce in Horsefly. Frank Wijma and his wife Carla Bullinger again taught Mimi, tutoring her on the ins and outs of hanging baskets.

“I spent the whole day out there and time just flew by,” Mimi said.

When Mimi reached out to the Pregnancy Outreach centre about donating the baskets, she said they loved it.

Outreach worker Kristy Novakowski said the organization supports a number of mothers who have green thumbs and love plants and flowers but cannot necessarily afford hanging baskets.

Mimi’s project and the generous donation of 10 hanging baskets were going to make for some very happy moms, said Novakowski.

Next year, Mimi plans to attend the University of Alberta to do an animal health degree, though she said her long term plan is to become a nurse.

A practicum at the hospital and job shadowing some nurses through two 12-hour shifts, split between time in the operating room and emergency room gave Mimi relatable insight into the biology she was learning in class and she loved helping people.

“It really drew me,” she said.

READ MORE: OUR HOMETOWN: Samara Mammel is a woman of many hats

READ MORE: OUR HOMETOWN: Williams Lake doctor honoured by First Nations community

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