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!

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!

WEST SIDE 

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!

Dogwood or Ninebark? Snowberry or Cedar? Which native plant did you plant this week?

Green Team Week November 18th to November 25th

Written by Jesuit Volunteers Dane Breslin and Becca Strohm

East Side Sites

Spring Mountain Elementary @ Mt. Scott Creek November 19th

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Spring Mountain Elementary students made a visit to Mt. Scoot Creek to do some  native planting this week.  Having removed invasive plants last month there was plenty of room to put in some lovely natives. Before planting we learned some plant I.D skills to be able to tell our different natives apart.  We looked at our plants to see if they were opposite, alternate or whorled, had simple or compound leaves and if the plant had a different leaf shape.  Some plants we learned were snowberry, ninebark, western red cedar and rose.  Students then went to work planting 65 native plants!  Great job Spring Mountain Green Team- we’ll see you next month at Mt. Scott Creek!

Portland Lutheran School @ Sandy River for Salmon Toss November 20th

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Portland Lutheran students traveled far upstream on the Sandy River to Lost Creek Campground to participate in a salmon toss.  Jeff Fulop from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Corinne Handelman from the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council came out with the salmon for students to toss into the Sandy.  Students also participated in a salmon dissection to learn the parts of a salmon and their functions.  Despite the bitter cold students about 350 salmon into the river!  After a warm-up in the car, students visited Oxbow Park.  Representatives from the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council and Portland Water Bureau gave tours of a large wood project and a conserved flood plain.  Thanks for all the hard work Portland Lutheran!  We’ll see you next month back at Beaver Creek.

Rex Putnam High School @ Boardman Wetland November 21st

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Rex Putnam students visited Boardman Wetlands on a blistery Thursday morning to do some native plantings.  Students learned some plant I.D skills to be able to recognize our native plants.  Students planted twinberry, ash, spirea and rose.  Planting in a wetland uses a slightly different technique than our normal way of planting.  Instead of digging a hole students had to create a little slit in the ground and place the plant inside.  Then they used their shovel to close up the slit, kind of like a zipper.  Overall students planted 67 plants!  Great job Rex Putnam- we’ll see you in December!

WEST SIDE SITES

Tuesday 11/19- Valley Catholic Middle School at Johnson Creek

Tuesday, Valley Catholic Middle School cleared around five hundred feet of blackberry at Johnson Creek.  Valley Catholic High School had cut the area free, but the vicious blackberry roots had to be painstakingly dug up.  It was a great and MUDDY adventure, and now the area is finally prepared for native planting!

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Wednesday 11/20- Rachel Carson Middle School at Willow Creek

Wednesday, Rachel Carson Middle School learned plant identification, planted fifty native plants and removed around three hundred feet of invasive Armenian Blackberry.  Additionally, teachers on site worked with students to measure native plant growth.  I was thoroughly impressed with this groups plant identification skills and their ability to memorize our native opposite leaved plants- S.A.M & T.E.D.

S- Snowberry

A-Ash (Oregon Ash)

M-Maple (Vine, Big Leaf Maple)

&

T- Twinberry

E- Elderberry (Red, Blue Elderberry)

D-Dogwood (Red Osier Dogwood)

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Thursday 11/21- Valley Catholic High School at Johnson Creek

This Thursday, Valley Catholic High School seniors planted forty five native plants at the same site Valley Catholic Middle School cleared earlier in the week.  We were all amazed at the transformation of the site, as what was once a blackberry monoculture started to resemble a healthy forest ecosystem!  More planting and continued maintenance will be required to see this transformation reach fruition.

Great Job Valley Catholic!

Friday 11/22- Tobias Elementary School at Beaverton Creek Tributary

This Friday, Green Team visited Tobias Elementary School to learn plant identification and to plant native. However, when we arrived all the plants were frozen in their buckets!!  Luckily, we were able to bring a wheelbarrow of native plants into the school and teach plant I.D. right in the classroom.  After the temperature warmed up a bit we did head outside and thawed our sapling with warm water before placing them in the ground. To teach us all how to plant, we were lucky enough to have Margaret from Clean Water Services come as a special guest!  Overall, we were able to plant one hundred and fifty native plants!

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Amazing job to all of my classes this week! Thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Dane

Rex Putnam High School returns for a third year at Boardman Wetlands

Rex Putnam HS @ Boardman Wetlands on 10.23.2013

Written by Rex Putnam High School Green Team

Rex Putnam’s sustainable system class was once again back at Boardman Creek helping to make it a healthier watershed. This was the first time the 2013-14 sustainable systems class was down at Boardman, but they demonstrated great effort, and were really into what they were doing. Nicole, our SOLVE instructor, explained with detail what a good watershed was to the students, and the students had no difficulty understanding. Eager to start working on Boardman, Nicole explained to the students that they would be taking down reed canary grass, and digging up blackberry roots. Without hesitation the students got to work. The 2013 -14 sustainable systems class did a wonderful job and had a very successful first day at Boardman creek.

Thanks Rex Putnam, you did a great job preventing reed canary grass from shading out our native plants so that in turn, our native plants can shade out the reed canary!  We are looking forward to seeing you next time!

Eastside 2013 Green Team Student Summit!

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The school year is winding down and the summer is rapidly approaching.  Green Team students took this opportunity to celebrate their efforts over the past year on their stream and wetland enhancement projects.  Eastside Green Team students gathered on May 17th at Rex Putnam High School for a day of celebration and sharing!

After an introduction from Kris, our Green Team Program Coordinator in lieu of Meghan Ballard on maternity leave, we kicked things off with our Keynote speaker! John Runyon is a Principle at his own environmental consulting firm, Cascade Environmental Group, overseeing watershed planning and restoration projects of all types. John shared his background experiences in fisheries, forestry, and stream restoration and encouraged us to continue to search for our passions!

Spring Mountain Elementary kicked off the morning with a video of what they this year in their very first year with SOLVE.  This enthusiastic group of third, fourth, and fifth graders restored Mt. Scott Creek after school, all year-long.  Our next presenters were our hosts, Rex Putnam High School‘s Sustainable Systems class.  They presented a documentary of their work at Boardman Wetlands and in their class throughout the year.  Portland Lutheran School described how their class mapped Beaver creek using GIS technology.  Students took the TriMet bus to Beaver Creek 5 times this year and completed individual inquiry projects and stream restoration activities.  Rod and Angie Shroufe’s classes from Clackamas High School explained how they have kept Rock Creek healthy throughout the year and the reason for their November Salmon tosses.  Clackamas High School also has an after school Green Team that has worked at Rock Creek and Mt. Scott Creek this year.  They explained the various projects they have implemented throughout the year to make Clackamas High School green! Last but not least, we had the Watershed Avengers, in all of their glory, from Clackamas High School present a lighthearted video about the removal of invasive species and get a little jiggy with it.  WATCH IT HERE.

SOLVE also recognized Amanda from Clackamas High School as this year’s Student of the Year.  Amanda participated in the SOLVE Stream Team Captain 3 day training in June.  Since then, she has dedicated 10 Saturdays to leading SOLVE events, which is hard to imagine from a busy high-schooler!  She is a shining example of how SOLVE and other local organizations can help you learn new skills, try experiences, and explore natural resources as a possible career.

A BIG thank you to our presenters, 12 Eastside Schools and 1120 students for your constant dedication and hard work to make our watersheds healthier for generations to come.  We are inspired by your passion and can’t wait to see all the things you will continue to do in the future.  This of course, also wouldn’t be possible without our Green Team Teachers who have motivated and encouraged their students throughout the year with their positive attitudes, rain or shine!  

Also thank you to the following sponsors, partners and friends who attended the summit and for supporting our work:

A parting thought from a Gladstone High School student this year:

A place so calm but corrupted

but people like us can fix it.

Each day we plant a new life

to help save the fish.

Pushing towards a new beginning I remind myself.

I am a student

I am an Oregonian

I am one of hundreds who’s willing to make a difference”

Thanks for playing in the mud, sun and hail with us, it has been a blast!

Battling Reed Canarygrass

Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest AmeriCorps member Nicole Poletto

Rex Putnam HS @ Boardman Wetlands on 4.15.2013

Rex Putnam High School came out once again to Boardman wetlands to continue to take care of all the plants that they planted!  In order to do this, they “coffee bagged” the native plants in the Reed Canarygrass area.  What does this mean, you might ask?  Well, Reed Canarygrass is a pesky invasive that can grow over 6 feet in the summertime.  It has a crazy seedbank in the soil, so the only way to get rid of it is with shade.  Staking coffee bags around the native plants helps shade out the grass and gives our native plants a chance to grow!  We coffee bagged 55 of our native plants! We also mulched 50 plants after they were bagged in order to help them retain water in the warm summer months when Rex Putnam isn’t there anymore to take care of their native plants!

That is not all that we did!  We also discussed litter in our environment and how litter in our watershed eventually ends up in the ocean.  A few dedicated students picked up litter around the neighborhood to keep it out of our waterways.

Thank you Rex Putnam for stewarding Boardman wetlands all year!  We will see you next month for our last outing to the wetlands!