Green Team East Side Summit a Success!

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On May 16th, nine of our Green Team Schools on the East Side of Portland came together for the East Side Summit.  Each school gave a 10 minute presentation by students on an aspect of stream restoration and ecology.  Students presented on topics such as birds species found on the Clackamas River by West Linn HS, macroinvertebrate surveys by Gladstone HS, beaver activity in a restored wetland by Rex Putnam HS, stream mapping on Beaver Creek by Portland Lutheran School, litter art by Gladstone HS, vegetation monitoring by Sam Barlow, a salmon toss by Clackamas HS and tools used in restoration by Sabin-Schellenberg.  In addition Spring Mountain Elementary made a video of their time at Mt. Scott Creek. 

We also got to hear from Jenny Dezso of the Clackamas River Basin Council gave a keynote speech on volunteerism and how it has shaped her career path.  Thanks to Jenny for sharing her story!

 All and all around 100 people were in attendance to hear great and informative presentations- great job to all who participated!  Thank you also goes out to Sesame Donuts and Noodles and Co for donating breakfast and lunch!  A big thank you to all who attended and also to our funders and partners who made this year in Green Team possible!  I am so proud of all the students who I have worked with this year- you are inspiring and we hope to see you next year out with Green Team!

March- friendly worms, small storms & loads of trash!

Green Team Week March 3rd to March 7th

Written by Jesuit Volunteers Dane Breslin and Becca Strohm

Clackamas Middle College @ Phillips Creek March 7th

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Clackamas Middle College made a trip this week to Phillips Creek to do both a native planting and a litter clean-up.  Students learned the path of litter from throwing it onto the side of the road to rainwater gutters, to creeks, to rivers and eventually out to the ocean.  Plastics can be eaten by marine life including birds, fish and turtles which believe the plastic is food.  The plastic can get lodged in their digestive system or can cause the animal to believe they are full, causing them to starve due to lack of nutrients.

Look at all that trash!

Look at all that trash!

Overall students collected 400 lbs of garbage around Phillips Creek and the streets around CMC including a shopping cart and a few rugs.  In addition students planted 150 native trees and shubs around Phillips Creek.  Thanks you CMC students and I look forward to another sunny day at Philips Creek!

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Monday, March 3rd

 Valley Catholic High School at Johnson Creek

Valley Catholic High School visited Johnson Creek this Monday to do a bioengineering activity with Green Team.  The group installed 100 live dogwood stakes, 50 Sitka Willow Stakes and 50 Schooler Willow stakes behind the school. The stakes contain a rooting hormone that allows them to be propagated quite easily, and will eventually grow into adult shrubs which will hold onto the soil and prevent erosion. Although our time together was fleeting, I truly enjoyed live staking with Valley Catholic and look forward to our next event!

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Tuesday, March 4th

St. Thomas More at Cedar Mill Creek

St. Thomas More second graders visited Cedar Mill Creek and planted 60 native shrubs with Green Team this Tuesday.  The group also installed approximately 50 Willow stakes into the muddy soil at Cedar Mill.  These stakes will one day grow into adult Willows which have incredible root systems which will do an amazing job of reducing erosion by holding onto the soil!  Though the students were small, they worked quickly and efficiently in groups with a parent. Digging a basketball sized hole, massaging roots, giving the plant a “haircut”, and doing a small plant dance after leveling the area around the plant proved to be second nature to the students of St. Thomas More.  Additionally, many of the students found squirmy worm friends, but were careful to put them in safe place before continuing.  Overall, the day was quite nice and I was most impressed with everyone’s behavior. Thank you St. Thomas More, please come out with Green Team again soon!

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Wednesday, March 5th

Rachel Carson at Willow Creek

Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School came out to Willow Creek’s new site this Wednesday remove blackberry roots, plant native trees and shrubs and learn some native plant identification.  The group was very successful and planted approximately 130 native trees and shrubs on the hill by the road.  This very same hill, which is notorious for having monster blackberry roots, now has the potential to become a healthy riparian area.  The group was also quizzed on their ability to identify native plants with only buds and leave scars as hints!  Overall, everyone did an incredible job and I always enjoy working with Rachel Carson students!

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Additionally, fantastic job to all of these students at the Rachel Carson Science fair. I was very impressed!

Thursday, March 6th

City View Charter at Council Creek

City View Charter visited Council Creek this Thursday and helped Green Team maintain the numerous recently planted native, as well as planting some native themselves!  The students planted 76 native trees & shrubs, and then coffee bagged and mulched each plant.  Invasive Reed Canary Grass inundates Council Creek yearly; the coffee bags staked around each plant keep the grass from getting sunlight and give the native plant space to grow.  Mulch around the plant holds onto moisture, keeps the plant warm and also helps prevent Reed Canary Grass from growing densely next to the plant.  Overall, the group did an excellent job, even in the pouring rain! Thank you City View Charter!!

 

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Forest Park Elementary at Cedar Mill Creek

Later the same day, Forest Park Elementary visited picturesque Cedar Mill Creek with Green Team.  The elementary students had some help from parents planting around thirty native trees & shrubs.  Students had a blast getting their gloves muddy and had fun naming their different plants silly names.  The sun came out near the end of our session and we all appreciated the beams of light moving through the Alder Trees on site.  Overall, Forest Park Elementary students were very well behaved and followed direction precisely. Thank you so much!

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Best,

Dane

Preventing Plastic Soup

Green Team Week Feb 24th to Feb 28th

Written by Jesuit Volunteers Dane Breslin and Becca Strohm

Spring Mountain @ Mt Scott Creek Feb 24th

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Spring Mountain Elementary came out for a slightly rainy day this week for bioengineering and some native planting.  Students installed 50 spirea stakes along the side of Mt. Scott Creek.  These stakes will take root and help to hold in the bank preventing erosion into the creek.  Students also planted 35 native trees and shrubs.  Spring Mountain Elementary students were Green Team Masters when asked the benefits of having native trees and shrubs instead of the invasive ivy which was at Mt. Scott.  They knew all the reasons including that native trees and shrubs provide food and habitat for native animals, help to prevent erosion by diversity in root structures, provide shade to cool the creeks down and can filter runoff flowing into the stream.   Great job Spring Mountain Elementary!  We’ll see you next time at Mt. Scott Creek.

Sam Barlow High School @ Beaver Creek Headwaters Feb 25th

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Sam Barlow came out for their second time to plant native trees and shrubs at Beaver Creek.  Students planted around 10 native trees including Western Red Cedars and a few Maples.  Red Cedars are allelopathic meaning the trees excrete a chemical from its root that effects the growth of other plants around it.  Students made sure the Cedars had plenty of room by ensuring the trees had a 10 ft radius around them before planting any other shrubs.  In addition to trees students planted 65 native shrubs including Oregon Grape, Snowberry, Salmonberry and Elderberry.  These berries will provide crucial food for native habitat around Beaver Creek.  Thanks for all the hard work Sam Barlow students.

Portland Lutheran @ Beaver Creek Feb 26th

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Portland Lutheran School spent a day doing bioengineering at Beaver Creek this month.  Dennis O’Connor from Habitat Concepts came out to teach them about bioengineering techniques and help to install some waddles along the bank.  What is a waddle you ask?  Waddles come in different types and PLS students installed a straw waddle and some fascine bundles.  The straw waddle is a 15 ft circular bundle of straw that students staked right along the side of the bank.  This will help to hold the bank in, preventing soil from falling into the creek from erosion.  The fascine bundles are a collection of live stakes tied into bundles that are placed into a small trench and staked in.  The live stakes were made from willow, dogwood and spirea which will eventually take root, becoming shrubs with extensive root structures that will also hold in the bank.

In addition to installing waddles students also live staked amongst the Reed Canary Grass next to the creek.  These stakes will eventually grow into small trees, shading out the Reed Canary Grass.  In the afternoon Roy Iwai from Multnomah County came to give a talk on the fish populations in Beaver Creek.  Students learned about the native and invasive fish populations in Beaver Creek and the problems associated with both a rural and urban stream.  All and all a great day out at Beaver Creek. Thanks for the enthusiasm Portland Lutheran!

Clackamas High School @ Rock Creek Confluence (2/27) and Rock Creek Troge (2/28)

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Clackamas High School students spent a two days at Rock Creek planting native trees and shrubs.  First students visited the Rock Creek Confluence with the Clackamas River for a very rainy day.  Representatives from Clackamas River Basin Council came out to inform the students about the larger project that is happening at the sight which includes in-stream installation of woody debris.  Students then got to work planting 175 native trees and shrubs along the hillside of Rock Creek.  Throughout the day students found a salamander and a native tree frog!

The second day students made a trip out to Rock Creek again but this time farther upstream.  Students were joined by 11 Japanese exchange students from the ESL school of Pacific International Academy at Marylhurst University.   The exchange students worked together with Clackamas students to plant but in addition got to work on their English skills including a lot of pop culture which was exchanged.  Overall students 120 native trees and shrubs along Rock Creek.  Thank you CHS and Marylhurst students- what a great day!

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Monday & Tuesday, February 24th and 25th  

Glencoe High School at McKay Creek

This Monday and Tuesday, each of Linda Wolf’s biology classes began the day with a litter in the environment presentation.  As a class, we examined the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and how plastic has detrimental effects on sea life.  When plastic escaped into our water system is breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces which become ingested by sea life and create a plastic “soup” in the ocean. After a short video explaining the garbage patch and a discussion on how to reduce the amount of plastic we use, the class headed outside for some mulching!

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Some ideas of how to reduce the amount of plastic include:

1)      Having and using a reusable water bottle rather than single use water bottles.

2)      Asking for ceramic mugs at coffee shops rather than to-go mugs. If you need to travel, bring your own mug!

3)      Use reusable shopping bags at the grocery store- many sea turtles eat plastic bags thinking they are jelly fish!

4)      Recycle all that you can!

5)      Try not to purchase items that are heavily packaged.

As a group we picked up around seventy pounds of trash and mulched over 400 native trees and shrubs! Excellent job Glencoe High School!

Wednesday, February 26th

Rachel Carson Middle School at Willow Creek

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This Wednesday Rachel Carson came out to Willow Creek for some intense Riparian restoration. As always, the class broke into three groups; planting, winter twig identification and blackberry removal.  Britta and Phil led the planting and filled in the hill by the road which had been recently cleared.  Our teachers lead the blackberry removal effort as there is (what seems like) thousands of roots which still require removal.  I led the winter twig identification station and quizzed each group on their understanding of Sam & Ted (opposite leaved plants) and some of the other common plants we install regularly.  Overall, I was very impressed with everyone’s work and continuously enjoy Rachel Carson students’ love of environmental sciences! Great Job!

 

Spring Is Coming!

Green Team Week March 10th to March 14th

Written by JVC Northwest Members Dane Breslin & Becca Strohm

Sabin-Schellenberg @ Rock Creek Troge March 10th

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Students in the Sabin-Schellenberg School of Forestry spent a day bioengineering at Rock Creek.  Dennis O’Connor from Habitat Concepts instructed the students on methods, techniques and benefits of bioengineering.   Students learned about how to live stake and how to install straw waddles and fascine bundles.  The waddles help as a barrier to soil that is falling into the stream.  The fascine bundles are made from live stakes of willow and dogwood that will take root and hold onto the soil, preventing erosion.  In addition students installed 50 stakes along the bank of Rock Creek.  Thanks Sabin students!

Sam Barlow @ Beaver Creek Headwaters March 10th

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Sam Barlow students spent a rainy day at Beaver Creek planting native trees and shrubs.  Barlow students have become master planters and planted 75 native shrubs despite the weather.  Thanks for the enthusiasm Sam Barlow!   After three rainy days of planting we are almost done- see you next time!

Rex Putnam @ Boardman Wetlands March 11th

Another trip out to Boardman Wetlands this week for Rex Putnam students to help restore Boardman Creek.  A few students were brave enough to cross the stream on our makeshift “bridge” in order to plant 10 native trees on the other side.  Despite the danger students surprisingly didn’t get wet when making this trek and successfully planted 10 willow and dogwood trees in the wetland.  The rest of the class spent the day beaver caging.  Recently we have found evidence of returned beavers at Boardman Creek which is pretty exciting and shows Rex Putnam student’s work is paying off.  But beavers do like to snatch our newly planted willow saplings so students put chicken wire around over 50 of our smaller willow trees to prevent beaver from taking them.  Soon those willow will grow nice and tall and the beaver will be able to take branches without risking the death of the entire tree.  Thanks for all the hard work Rex Putnam!

West Linn @ Clackamas Willamette Confluence March 11th and 12th

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West Linn students came out for the first time in the new year to  help restore habitat around the Clackamas-Willamette Confluence.  Students learned a little plant identification before getting started planting including what Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir, Oregon Grape, Salmonberry and Red Osier Dogwood look like.  Students had to be able to distinguish between native trees and native shrubs which can sometimes be difficult when they are saplings.  We plant our native shrubs 3 ft from other plants but are native trees must be 10 ft from other plants in order to ensure they have enough space to grow their roots.  West Linn students did a great job and planted 30 trees and 91 shrubs!  In addition students collected 280 lbs of trash!  An exciting point of the day was spotting two bald eagles fly overhead.  Thanks for the enthusiasm and hard work West Linn students!

Spring Mountain Elementary @ Mt. Scott Creek March 11th

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Spring Mountain Elementary made a trip out to Mt. Scott Creek this week.  Students mulched our newly planted natives, pulled English ivy and wrote a reflection.  Mulching is a new activity of the year so first we talked about the benefits of mulch.  Mulch is made of cut-up tree bark.  It provides many benefits for native plants including providing nutrients as the mulch breaks down into the soil, prevents weeds from growing around the plants and can help the plant drink because it can retain moisture.  Students mulched over 30 plants around Mt. Scott Creek.  In addition students pulled 30 sq feet of ivy which is still creeping back up around our native plants.  At the end of the day students worked on a reflection of their time throughout the year at Mt. Scott Creek.  Great job Spring Mountain Elementary students!  See you next time

Clackamas High School @ Rock Creek Troge March 13th

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Clackamas High School came out to do some native planting along Rock Creek this week. Students were greeted by a beautiful day with sunshine and a balmy 60 degree temperature!  First off we did a a review of the benefits of having our native plants instead of the invasive plants. Native plants provide habitat and food for native animals, especially birds, help to prevent erosion by having diverse root structures that hold onto the soil, stabilizing the bank, can filter out toxins and pollutants from runoff as it flows towards the stream and large trees provide shade which can help cool down the water in streams, creating a better environment for aquatic life.  Clackamas students planted 15 trees and over 200 shrubs in different areas along Rock Creek.  In addition students put beaver caging around 13 Red Alders saplings to protect them from beaver until they grow bigger.  Thanks for bringing the sunshine CHS students- thanks for doing great work at Rock Creek!

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Thursday, March 13th

Gilkey Middle School at Cedar Mill Creek

This Thursday, Gilkey Middle School did an exceptional job planting and mulching forty native trees and shrubs at Cedar Mill Creek.  The sixth grade students and their parents started the day by getting into planting groups and hauling buckets of mulch, plants and shovels to the site.  At the site there was a short planting demonstration and then the students did a top notch job of getting the sapling safely into the soil.  We also reviewed the importance of mulch and how it keeps the plant moist, warm and well fed!  During the middle of the day a native plant identification training session was held and the sixth graders learned about native opposite leaved plants, S.A.M. & T.E.D. (Snowberry, Ash, Maple, Twinberry, Elderberry, and Maple).  After memorizing these six plants the alternating leaved plants were much easier to learn.  We ended the day with a truly enjoyable stroll back through the sunlit forest.

Thank you so much Gilkey Middle Schoolers! I had an excellent time planting and mulching with you all and really enjoyed your class!

Valley Catholic High School at Johnson Creek

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Valley Catholic High School students were blessed with exceptionally nice weather this Thursday while planting around sixty native trees and shrubs at Johnson Creek.  The sun was out and the Indian Plums were beginning to bloom as students worked in pairs digging basketball shaped holes, trimming roots, removing nursery soil and making sure their young plants were firmly rooted.  Though our time together was short lived I had an excellent time with this class and am quite impressed with their planting abilities.  Thank you so much for coming out Valley Catholic!

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Friday, March 14th

Tobias Elementary School at Beaverton Creek Tributary

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Tobias elementary school students were very busy this Friday mulching all day with Green Team.  Each class worked in pairs and took around a half a bucket for each plant.  Before we began we discussed the differences between mulch, manure and compost. We also talked about the magic of mulch, and how it truly offers so much support to our young plants be acting as a source of nutrient, a guardian against close growing weeds, and an emergency supply of heat and water.  By the end of the day, over 300 native trees and shrubs were safely nested in a ring of mulch and what was once a GIANT mound of mulch appeared quite small. Thank you Tobias Elementary, it was wonderful mulching in the sunshine all day with you!

Erosion’s the name. Prevention by Green Team is the game.

Green Team Week February 10th – 14th

Written by Jesuit Volunteers Dane Breslin and Becca Strohm

Rex Putnam @ Boardman Wetlands

Wednesday Feb 12th

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Rex Putnam students came out for a beautiful day this week at Boardman Wetlands.  Temperatures were almost into the 50′s and with the melt of snow, the wetlands were particularly wet and soggy.  Activities of the day were bioengineering and beaver caging.  Just this week evidence of beaver activity was spotted at the wetlands, proof of the positive impact Rex Putnam’s work has had on Boardman habitat.  Students caged around 30 small willow to prevent the beaver from taking too many of our newly planted trees.  Students also installed 80 willow stakes which will hopefully grow into large willow trees, shading out Reed Canary Grass, preventing erosion and providing more great habitat for wildlife.

Thanks for all the hard work and enthusiasm Rex Putnam students.  Your work is really paying off at Boardman Wetlands!

Sabin-Schellenberg Forestry School @ Rock Creek Troge

Thursday Feb 13th

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First year forestry students came out to Rock Creek Troge for the first time this week from Sabin-Schellenberg School.  Students participated in a variety of restoration activities all around Rock Creek.  First off we removed invasive species, both Reed Canary Grass and blackberry, from the slopes and bank sides of the creek.  We prepped this area so that next time students come out they can do a large bio-engineering project to help prevent the erosion happening along the bank side.  A few students armed with weed whackers also removed blackberry and reed canary grass along the steeper slopes.

Next up students planted 55 native trees and shrubs along the opposite bank.  These plants will also help to prevent erosion along Rock Creek.  The various root structures of the different plants will hold in the soil much better than the monoculture of invasive canary grass that was there previously.

Finally a “special operations team” helped to beaver cage some of the native plants.  Beaver enjoy a bunch of the natives we planted but particularly like Red Alder so we caged about 15 of those trees.

Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication Sabin students.  We will see you out in March for some bioengineering!

Valley Catholic High School at Johnson Creek

Tuesday, February 11th

This Tuesday, students from Valley Catholic High School came out to Johnson Creek to install approximately 125 live Willow and Dogwood stakes.  The stakes contain a rooting hormone which allows them to be propagated by simply hammering them half way into the soil.  This project was quite painless in comparison to blackberry removal and we finished quickly.  In addition to the staking itself we discussed how the fast growing, native trees would offer shade to the creek and reduce erosion through their complex root systems. Great job Valley Catholic and thank you for coming out!

City View Charter @ Council Creek

Friday, February 14th

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City View Charter came out to Council Creek and did so INCREDIBLE work.  The class split into two groups and switched half way through the time period.  One group went with Becca and installed two hundred live Willow and Dogwood Stakes. This group also coffee bagged some of our native plants so that they would have a leg up against the surrounding Reed Canary Grass. The second group did macro invertebrate surveys with Nicole and I. We found many small bugs friends in the stream including mayflies and damsel flies (as well as others).  This means that the stream is healthier than a stream where  we only found one time of macro invertebrate.

Overall, we had an excellent time and City View Charter was well versed in their watershed health knowledge!

Thank you!

Staking in the New Year

Green Team Eastside Week Jan 27th to Jan 31st

By SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Becca Strohm

Clackamas Middle College @ Phillips Creek January 28th

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Clackamas Middle College students made their first trip of the new year to Phillips Creek to do some bioengineering.  Bioengineering uses techniques with live trees to prevent erosion along the side of the stream bank.  Installing live stakes along the side of a stream will allow for the roots to take hold of the bank side, holding in soil and preventing erosion.  Only a few plants are able to grow from stakes naturally,  Clackamas Middle College used Red Osier Dogwood but willow and spirea are also good to use.  Overall students installed 250 stakes that will take root and prevent erosion into Phillips Creek.  Thanks for all the hard work CMC!

Portland Lutheran School @ Beaver Creek January 29th

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Portland Lutheran School did a little bit of everything this month at Beaver Creek.  We began by learning about bioengineering where we use plant materials to stabilize stream banks.  Branches of willow trees were harvested and students created willow stakes by cutting the branches into two feet sections that were more than an inch in diameter.  Students installed the stakes right along the bank of Beaver Creek in groups of 3 or 5.  Overall students installed about 150 stakes!

Next students reviewed their plant identification skills in order to do some native planting. Portland Lutheran definitely has their opposite native plants down, knowing all the plants in SAM and TED.

Snowberry                                                   Twinberry

Ash                               &                             Elderberry

Maple                                                           Dogwood

Students planted about 75 native trees and shrubs along Beaver Creek.

After lunch students came back for one more round of beaver caging.  We caged the new willow stakes we installed as well as some of the native plants that beavers particularity like.  Portland Lutheran are masters of caging and caged 40 trees and stakes!

Great job Portland Lutheran!  All your hard work is really paying off at Beaver Creek!

Scavenger Hunts & The Willow Branch Parade

Green Team December 9th – 13th

East Side Sites

Clackamas High School @ Rock Creek Troge 2 December 9th

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Despite the cold, Clackamas High School students in Mr. Shroufe’s class made a trip to Rock Creek this week.  The freezing temperatures made planting impossible so instead students removed invasive blackberry.  Students worked so hard that we can finally see Rock Creek with all the blackberry bushes gone.  Great job removing over 500 sq feet of blackberry Clackmas High and thank you for your dedication in coming out for Green Team despite the temperatures.  We’ll see everyone next year!

Spring Mountain Elementary December 10th

Scavenger Hunt!

Scavenger Hunt!

Spring Mountain Elementary School’s Green Team had a fun filled outing of hunting and snowflakes this week.  Because of the weather it was a bit too cold for planting so instead students participated in a nature scavenger hunt around their school.  We found nature objects like “something frozen”, “something red”, “a bird chirping” and “an insect” (plus much more!)  After our hunt we went inside and enjoyed some hot chocolate and a craft.  After collecting sticks, pods and berries we used a glue gun to make nature snowflakes.

A beautiful snowflake!

A beautiful snowflake!

Thanks for your hard work and flexibility Spring Mountain.  We’ll see you in the new year!

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Wednesday 12/11

Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School at Willow Creek

This Wednesday, Rachel Carson students had a busy day at BOTH Willow Creek sites. As usual, the class split into three groups.  One group worked with Becca removing invasive Armenian Blackberry by the fence, which had been hidden behind an eight foot high wall of blackberry but is now completely visible- this is truly an incredible feat! The second group worked with the teacher on site measuring native plant density and growth.  The third group hiked into the older Willow Creek site and harvested adult Willow Tree and Red Osier Dogwood cuttings and then hauled them to the new site.  I am sure we were quite a site to see, parading to the new site with ten foot long tree branches in hand!  Once at the new site, these adult branches were cut into stakes and installed along the edge of the stream.  In the spring, these stakes will send out deep and fibrous roots which will hold onto the soil effectively reducing turbidity, and new trees will grow.  These new trees will offer shade to the creek lowering the temperature of the water, which will increase dissolved oxygen level, which is essential for healthy fish populations.

Wonderful job Rachel Carson, you never fail to impress!

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Friday 12/13

Tobias Elementary at Beaverton Creek Tributary

This Friday, Tobias Elementary visited a Beaverton Creek Tributary for a bioengineering project.  Students followed me to the site where we harvested adult Willow Trees.  Becca, Nicole and I then turned these branches into two foot long stakes which students installed into the side of the stream using rubber mallets.  We had extra time after installing the stakes, so students removed invasive blackberry using loppers and then walked back to the classroom.

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Great Job Tobias and Rachel Carson!  I am excited to see how successful our stakes grow in the spring!

Thank you for all of your help,

 

Dane Breslin