For Immediate Release
April 28, 2021
Contact: Melanie Mow Schumacher, Special Projects-Communications Manager
Phone: 831-475-8501 x153
Email Melanie Mow Schumacher
Memorial Garden Honoring Vaidehi Campbell Williams, Soquel Creek Water District's "Water Princess"
Soquel, CA (April 28, 2021) – In September of 2019, the District lost a beloved member of their work-family in the tragic fire aboard the diving boat Conception off the Channel Islands, which also took 33 other lives. Vaidehi Campbell Williams, who had been with the District for over 18 years, continues to be immensely missed by her colleagues, by the community she served, and most of all by her family. In honor of Vai's memory, the District, Ecology Action, and the Water Conservation Coalition of Santa Cruz County created a memorial garden. It is a tribute to Vai's sparkling energy, her exuberance for the District's mission to protect local water resources, her passion for all things environmental, and her kind soul.
The Vaidehi Campbell Williams Memorial Garden, located at the District's offices at 5180 Soquel Drive and the corner of Rosedale Ave., was officially planted and landscaped by Vai's friends, family, and colleagues on Earth Day, April 22, 2021 – a fitting tribute in itself, as Vai was a strong believer in living her life every day as Earth Day. A bench for the garden (built by co-workers) and a memorial plaque honoring Vaidehi will be installed soon.
The District partnered with local nonprofit Ecology Action to design and install the garden through the Climate Victory Garden grant program, sponsored by the Water Conservation Coalition of Santa Cruz County, comprised of local public water agencies from San Lorenzo Valley to Watsonville. The Grant paid for the design, installation, project coordination, plants, cardboard, mulch, and gopher baskets. The landscape was beautifully designed by Sherry Bryan of Ecology Action and the District’s project coordinator was Shelley Flock, both who were close colleagues of Vaidehi. The installation labor and many of the materials costs have been donated by members of the Central Coast Chapter of the CA Landscape Contractors Association and others who worked with Vaidehi on landscape water conservation throughout her career: Hunter Irrigation (valves and timer), Ewing Irrigation-Soquel branch (pressure regulator, filters and fittings), Netafim (drip irrigation), Terra Bella Landscaping, Chris Elliot - Aqua Green Landscape Irrigation (redwood slabs for bench and installation of donated irrigation valves), A Growing Concern, California H2orticulture Services, Marathon Landscape, Prime Landscape, Far West Landscaping, Green and Growing Landscape, Vision Recycling (discounted mulch), Tish O‘Reilly - Pacific Mountain Horticulture (donation of Crape Myrtle trees); Soquel Creek Nursery Growers (discounted plants); and Michael Johnson, irrigation instructor at Cabrillo College and Cabrillo irrigation students.
The garden is designed to serve as a Monterey Bay-Friendly, water-wise demonstration garden for all of Santa Cruz County, and the community is invited to visit.
As Communications Specialist at the District, Vai shared her passion for water and the environment with countless community members at local, county, and statewide educational and special events. She loved working with teachers and kids and eagerly provided fun, interactive presentations in local classrooms from preschool to college - and wherever else there was an opportunity to share her enthusiasm. She was known as the "Water Princess" to many of the delighted elementary school students with whom she often interacted as part of her job. In everything she did, she set a tone of gracious and collegial collaboration with fellow employees, District customers, and the community.
The Vaidehi Campbell Williams Memorial Garden will serve as a remembrance of this unique and wonderful person, whose giving spirit, inspiration, and positive impact on the District and on the entire community will be felt for generations to come.
About Soquel Creek Water District
The Soquel Creek Water District is a local government agency that provides water resource management within its service area to deliver a safe and reliable supply of high-quality water to meet present and future needs in an environmentally sensitive and economically responsible way. The District's website is www.soquelcreekwater.org.
About Ecology Action
Ecology Action is passionately driven to empower individuals, businesses, and communities to take actions today that achieve environmental and economic sustainability. Learn more at www.ecoact.org