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!

Predaceous Diving Beetles- Ahoy!

Green Team Week April 7th to April 11th

Written by Jesuit Volunteers Dane Breslin and Rebecca Strohm

West Linn High School @ Clackamas-Willamette Confluence April 8, 9 & 10th

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West Linn High School students visited the Clackamas-Willamette Confluence this week to do a few different restoration activites.  First students planted did a little native planting to provide food and habitat for native animals and help prevent erosion Having planted before, students were experts and planted 140 trees and shrubs.  Also on the agenda was bioengineering.  Students installed live dogwood stakes into the wetter areas of the Confluence site.  Dogwoods having a specific hormone that allows them to take root and grow into a new tree after being staked into the ground.  Students installed 150 dogwood stakes that will grow into beautiful dogwood trees.  Students also spread 14 bales of straw around the exposed bare ground.  Removing invasive blackberry and ivy in the beginning of the year left the ground exposed except for the native plants.  The straw will help the soil retain moisture during the hot summer months and help in preventing the soil from eroding.  Students also found a few long-toed salamander and a variety of birds on site including an osprey and red-tailed hawk.  Thanks for the hard-work and dedication West Linn!  See you next time!

Gladstone High School @ Clackamas-Willamette Confluence April 10th

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Gladstone High School made a trip out to the Clackamas-Willamette Confluence this week.  It was invasive removal day and first up was a little round of riparian metaphors.  Students related regular household items to ways in which riparian areas benefit the environment.  For instance an ice cube tray could represent cold water.  Large trees along a stream bank provide shad over the creek which can assist in cooling the water, allowing more dissolved oxygen for aquatic organisms.  A coffee filter could represent native plants which assist in filtering run-off that is flowing into streams.  After riparian metaphors students got to work removing invasive species.  This particular site is home to many invasives including Armenian blackberry, English Ivy, holly, clematis and morning glory.  Students dug and pulled these invasive species, removing about 50 sq feet.  Thanks for bringing the sunshine and enthusiasm Gladstone students!

WEST SIDE

Wednesday, April 9th

Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School at Willow Creek

This Wednesday was particularly sunny down at Willow Creek and Rachel Carson Middle School visited the old site for macro invertebrate surveys, coffee bagging and site tours. We also had some special guests with us from SOLVE, and the Rachel Carson students did a phenomenal job of explaining what we were doing and made everyone feel welcomed.

Here is a run-down of the day:

First, we did macro invertebrate surveys, which were especially exciting as we found huge predaceous diving beetles, a plethora of damsel fly larvae, and four large dragonfly larvae.  As always, a few students “accidentally” fell into the creek while collecting macros with long nets.  Overall, the surveys were a success and Willow Creek is teeming with life!  Students then coffee bagged native plants to give them a better chance of survival midst the sea of invasive, fast growing, Reed Canary Grass. The coffee bags are placed on both sides of the native plant and held firmly into the ground with biodegradable stakes.  The bags themselves are generously donated by Boyd’s coffee and naturally break down over time, while also preventing Reed Canary Grass from growing too close to the native plant.  To wrap up the day, each Rachel Carson group went on a site tour and got to look at pictures of the site from nine years ago!  The change has been amazing!

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Thank you Rachel Carson, it has been so awesome working with you this year!

Dane Breslin

 

 

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!

Willow Stakes and Winter Snow

Green Team Week December 2nd to the December 6th

Written by Jesuit Volunteers Dane Breslin and Becca Strohm

A Shout-out to our Green Team students who work at Beaver Creek!  This article was in the Gresham Outlook this past week.

coho return

East Side Sites

West Linn High School @ Clackamas-Willamette Confluence December 3rd and 4th

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West Linn students in Mr. Hartmann and Bingham’s classes came out to do some native planting at the Clackamas-Willamette Confluence.  First students learned a little bit about plant identification for our native species.  Different plant parts can help you distinguish between plants including the terminal bud, lateral buds and lenticels.  Lenticels are pores on the steam which allow for gas exchange, depending on the plant they can be more distinct.  The lateral buds are the most common way to distinguish trees because they are all quite distinct and in different patterns.

Unfortunately, for the first class on Wednesday, the little saplings were frozen in their pots. We did our best to ‘hug’ them and heat them up.  By the second class, the day had warmed up significantly and the plants were more easily removed from their pots.

Thank you for your enthusiasm and flexibility West Linn!

Overall West Linn planted 165 plants!  Thanks for a great job West Linn students!

La Salle High School @ Phillips Creeks December 4th and 5th

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La Salle students planted 100 native trees and shrubs at Phillips Creek this week.  Despite the cold, students were able to dig holes and with a little coaxing get our native plants out of their frozen buckets.  Students also learned a little plant identification skills including our friends SAM and TED which are our native trees and shrubs that have opposite lateral bud arrangement.  These include snowberry, ash, maple, twinberry, elderberry and dogwood.  While planting we perfected the perfect sized hole by finding a basketball and laying it inside insuring our hole was basketball sized.  La Salle students also picked up a bunch of trash lying around Philips Creek.  Thanks for your dedication in the cold La Salle students!

West Linn High School @ Clackamas-Willamette Confluence December 5th

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West Linn students came out for a final day on Thursday but it was so cold the night before the ground was frozen over.  This made planting our native trees and shrubs too difficult so instead students did some invasive removal and litter clean-up.  Students found a few tires, a soccer ball and a bunch of other litter clearing 50 lbs of trash.  There was also lopping of blackberry and some pulling of ivy.  Great job West Linn and thanks for your enthusiasm!

WEST SIDE SITES

Glencoe High School at McKay Creek

Monday 12/2 and Tuesday 12/3

This Monday and Tuesday, Glencoe High school installed over three hundred and sixty Red Osier Dogwood stakes. Each stake contains a growth hormone that gives it the potential to one day become a full grown Dogwood!

The classes first learned how to prepare live stakes. The steps are listed below.

1)      Harvest up to ¼ of an adult Red Osier Dogwood, or Willow.

2)      Cut branches into 2 foot long segments. Make sure that the bottom is cut at an angle, so that the stake will move into the ground easier.  The top should be flat, making the stake easier to mallet.

3)      Remove any side branches or buds from the stake. All energy in the stake must go towards developing root structures, not buds and leaves.

4)      Attach pink tape to make locating plants later easier.

5)      Find a wet area and mallet the stake halfway into the ground.  Place within one foot of each other to more effectively shade out the invasive Reed Canary Grass.

Glencoe installed stakes in several different areas behind their school building. The hope is that by spring forests of Dogwood will battle with Reed Canary Grass, hold onto loose soils, and create new habitats for native animal life.  After each class, students drank warm cups of hot cocoa and worked on reflections for Honoring Our Rivers!  It has been a joy serving with Glencoe this year and the changes we have made to McKay Creek are already visible!

Thank you for all your hard work.

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City View Charter School at Council Creek

Thursday 12.5

This Thursday, City View Charter School braved the cold and learned how to make and propagate Willow stakes at Council Creek.  We started above the creek with a Willow stake making class.  Then, the students worked in pairs down in the wetland to break through the frozen ground and install the stakes they made.  Even though it was freezing cold, the sun did come out and the landscape quite literally glittered with frost and snow.  City View installed around sixty Willow and Dogwood stakes and then headed back to the class to complete a reflection on bioengineering and planting this semester.

I am so proud of this class’s hard work and amazed at their vigor for environmental restoration (even when the weather is trying).

To all of my classes this week I want to thank you and wish you a happy holiday season!

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Dreaming of spring & loving the snow,

Dane

A little salmon, plant dancing and stinky bob- just another week for Green Team!

Green Team November 11th to 16th

Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteers Dane Breslin and Becca Strohm

East Side Sites

Clackamas High School @ Rock Creek Troge 2 November 13th

Clackamas High School students in Mr. Gwin’s class made their first trip out to Rock Creek this week.  Students began the day by playing the ever-run game Riparian Metaphors!  Comparing common household objects with different aspects of a healthy bank-side helped everyone to remember the goals for Rock Creek.  Some examples were an ice-cube tray representing cold water which provides habitat for fish species and  a camouflage t shirt representing native trees and shrubs that could provide habitat and cover for native animal species.  After the game students got to work cutting down invasive Armenian blackberry and removing its canes.  By the end of the day we could see the stream through some of the blackberry that used to block our view!  Great job Clackamas students!

Gladstone High School @ Rinearson Creek November 14th Last Day Celebration!

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Gladstone students spent their last day at Rinearson Creek learning plant i.d and planting native plants.  Before planting began students learned the benefits of native plants and trees in comparison to the invasive plants we have removed.  Native plants provide food and habitat for native wildlife, help to hold the soil, preventing erosion on stream banks and can filter out toxins that may be flowing into a stream through run-off.  Next students i.d skills were homed as they learned all the native plants they would be planting, including Snowberry, Western Red Cedar, Dogwood, WIllow and Nine Bark.  Sixty-six shrubs and trees were planted!  Great job Gladstone!  For an end of the year celebration students enjoyed Krispy Kreme doughnuts on their walk back to school.  Thanks for everything you’ve done on the new site this year Gladstone- it’s looking great because of you!

Clackamas Middle College @ Phillips Creek November 15th

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Clackamas Middle College students went out to Phillips Creek this week to do some native planting.  Before beginning students learned about plant I.D in order to tell our native species apart as they planted.  For instance there are different lateral bud patterns that can help you determine what a tree or shrub is; opposite, alternative or whorled and whether a leaf is simple or compound.  Students planted Red Osier Dogwood, Snowberry, Rose, Twinberry and also planted some trees including Red Alder, Big-leafed Maple, Western Red Cedar and Douglass Fir.  All and all students planted about 100 shrubs and trees- thanks for all your hard work Clackamas Middle College!

West Linn Salmon Toss @ Clackamas River November 16th

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West Linn High School students braved the elements on a blistery Saturday morning to participate in a salmon toss.  Jeff Fulop from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife provided the fish from a local hatchery.  Students threw about 350 fish into the Oak Grove section of the Clackamas River to help restore nutrients to the river and surrounding bank side.  Everyone also got to perform a dissection of a salmon and identify the different organs of a fish and what they do.  Thanks for your dedication to restoring our local waterways West Linn students!

WEST SIDE SITES

Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School
Wednesday 11/13/13
Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School planted around sixty native Willow, Twin Berry and Douglas Spirea plants this Wednesday at Willow Creek.  The mud was deep and we might have lost a couple boots, but we got the plants into the soil!
Students also removed invasive Armenian Blackberry, thistle and Morning Glory from the path and monitored native plants. SOLVE aims to have 80% of the plants at each site be native. I will be interested in seeing what Rachel Carson students discover in the coming months about native plant levels in the Willow Creek area.
Thank you for your wonderful work Rachel Carson!

Thursday & Friday   11/14/13- 11/15/13

Aloha High School at Butternut Creek

This Thursday and Friday Aloha High School worked at Butternut Creek planting at total of 80 native plants!  The classes started off the day learning plant identification and ethnobotany. Then, a lesson was given on how to actually successfully plant.

Here’s the rundown:

1) Dig basketball sized hole.

2) Massage roots and remove most of potting soil (this wakes up the plant and helps it to grow into the surrounding soil rather than just in the shape of the pot).

3) Backfill if hole is too deep, and then place plant in hole.

4) Fill in the hole with soil.

5) Plant Dance! Walk around the plant in a small circle to compact the ground. If there is still an area where water can pool, fill it in so that the plant does not drown.

6) Tie on a small pink flag- we don’t want to forget where we planted!

Overall, Aloha and I had a really great time, and I always have fun connecting with this set of students. The detail squad was on top of their game again and was busy getting some interestingly named Willows into the ground.

Thank you Aloha, I always enjoy spending time outside with you all!

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Forest Park Elementary School at Cedar Mill Creek

This Thursday Forest Park Elementary came out to Cedar Mill Creek to remove invasive Armenian Blackberry and “stinky bob”.  Our youngest member was four years of age- but she was an expert on stinky bob removal regardless.  Everyone in the class was able to stay behind me while we walked down and so everyone got the opportunity to use a real shovel.

It was a blast! Great job following instructions Forest Park!

Something smells a little fishy… Green Team November 4th-9th

Green Team Week November 4th-9th

Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteers Dane Breslin and Becca Strohm

East Side Sites

Sabin Schellenberg Forestry School @ Rock Creek Troge 2- Nov. 4th

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Forestry students broke ground on a new site next to Rock Creek removing invasive blackberry.  With the blackberry above their heads and seen far into the distance it is a good thing students brought chain saws and weed-wackers.  Blackberry was chopped down fast, students cleared over 2000 sq feet of blackberry!  Great Job Sabin students!

Sam Barlow High School @ Beaver Creek Headwaters Nov 4th and 5th

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Sam Barlow students came out for the first time to begin work at Beaver Creek Headwaters.  Before going out each class had surveyed a specific area for plant populations and will continue to survey as our restoration efforts begin.  Since it was the first day ever at the site there was a lot of work to do!  Students came out for three days to remove blackberry and despite the rain students worked hard and removed a ton of canes and blackberry roots!  Great job Sam Barlow!

West Linn High School @ Clackamas Confluence Nov. 5th, 6th and 7th

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West Linn students came out for the second time to do some invasive removal beside the Clackamas Confluence.  Having already removed a ton of blackberry, students began working up a slope and with the rain got VERY MUDDY!  While digging up roots, students uncovered a lot of litter- over 200 lbs!  With majority of the blackberry removed students will be able to plant native plants on site on their next outing!  Excellent work West Linn- we’ll see you next time on the Clackamas!

Clackamas High School @ Rock Creek Troge 2- November 7th

One of Mr. Gwin’s classes made their first trip to Rock Creek to break ground on the brand new site Rock Creek Troge 2.  The site is full of invasive blackberry bushes and the banks of the stream are so eroded it almost looks like a canal!  Students began work removing the blackberry clearing about 250 sq feet of blackberry.  Next month students will be able to plant native species in the area once all the blackberry is removed.  Great Job Clackamas students!

Clackamas High School @ Clear Creek in Estacada- November 8th

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Students in AP Biology made a trek to Clear Creek in Estacada to participate in a salmon toss.  Students suited up by putting on plastic trash bags and gloves and got to work.  Students threw about 300 Coho salmon into Clear Creek in order to restore the nutrients lost because salmon are not making it as far upstream as they traditionally have.  Students also performed a salmon dissection to learn the parts of a fish,  They removed internal organs to make Mr. Fish E. Guts and learn what all the organs look like and their function.  With the bitter cold and rain students got to enjoy a nice fire which also served to bake and smoke salmon that everyone got to try.  Great job Clackamas students!

Salmon Toss @ Clackamas River in Estacada- Sat. November 9th

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A few West Linn and Rex Putnam students participated in a salmon toss along the Clackamas River early Saturday morning.  They were joined by a few Jesuit Volunteer Corp members who came out to join in on the fun.  Despite the early departure time, students enthusiastically threw about 200 Coho salmon into the river to restore nutrients to river and provide food for the 137 species who feed on salmon.  Thanks for all you work West Linn and Putnam students!  I hope you can get the smell of salmon off!

WEST SIDE SITES 

Glencoe High School

Monday & Tuesday~11/4-11/5

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This week Glencoe High School students planted 150 native plants with Green Team! These native plants include Nine Bark, Red Flowering Currant, Red Elderberry, Sword Fern, Red Osier Dogwood and the Cascara tree.  Each class started the event by practicing their plant identification skills.

1) Is the plant alternate or opposite?

2) Are the leaves palmate or pinnate?

3) Are the leaves simple or compound?

4) What else do we see? (berries, color of bark, flowers, lenticels, lobed leaves, etc.)

We also experimented with a native grass called Scirpus Microcarpus or ‘pinnacled bulrush’. First, an adventurous group of students removed a large patch of invasive Reed Canary Grass.  Then, the native rushes were planted densely into the open area in hopes of gaining a foothold and competing with the Reed Canary.  Lastly, the students had to clean up after becoming extraordinarily muddy!

Glencoe 9th grade students planted native plants in several locations and did an amazing job!

Thank you Glencoe High School!

Rachel Carson Middle School at Willow Creek

The New Planting Site

Wednesday 10/6 

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This week, Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School 7th and 8th grade students visited Willow Creek with Green Team. The classes started by breaking into three different groups; invasive blackberry removal, plant identification and plant density estimation.  Thus far, the group has hacked away a huge amount of blackberry and the fence is even more visible than before. Additionally, we started planting in a new area that used to be completely covered with blackberry. This proved challenging as before native plants could be put into the soil blackberry roots had to be removed!  However, Rachel Carson students were up to the challenge and worked hard the whole day.

Thank you Rachel Carson Middle School!

City View Charter at Council Creek

Thursday 11/7

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This week City View Charter visited Council Creek. The class split into two groups. One group learned plant identification with Nicole, while the other group planted native plants. Overall, we planted over 60 native plants!  These plants include Pacific and Sitka Willows, Douglas Spirea, native grasses, Nine Bark and Oregon Ash.  As a group we experimented with different ways to open the soil and make space for the native plants to grow. Initially, the day was quite bleak and rainy, but by the end the beautiful Sun had come out and everyone was in the mood for more restoration!

Thank you City View Charter!

The Madeleine School at Baltimore woods

Friday 11/9

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This Friday, the Madeleine School planted about 40 native plants!  Before they could plant they removed invasive blackberry, Morning Glory, Deadly Purple Night Shade and Teasel.  Before we began planting, they learned plant I.D. and went on a nature walk through a previous parking lot that is being converted to Oak Savannah Habitat. Overall, it was quite an exciting day and I am appreciative of all of the Madeleine Schools energy!

Thank you Madeleine School!

Thus ends a great week for Green Team.  Thanks for all who participated!

West Linn Begins Work at a New Site

West Linn High School @ Clackamas Confluence October 8, 9, 10

Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Becca Strohm

West Linn High School students from Mr. Hartmann’s and Mr. Bingham’s classes began work at a new site this year right along the bank of the Clackamas confluence and the Willamette River.

The site is important because the area below, right off the Clackamas River, is potential side channel habitat for aquatic wildlife.  Removing invasive species in the area will clear room for the planting of native trees and shrubs which will provide a more healthy home for the wildlife and help water quality for the potential side channel.  The site is chock full of the invasive species; English ivy and Armenian/Himalayan blackberry.  The amount of blackberry did not scare West Linn students though, they dived right in and got to work cutting back and digging up the blackberry!

Before shot

Before shot

Wall of blackberry!
Wall of blackberry!

Over three days West Linn students cleared around 3000 square feet of blackberry!  Students also picked up about 175 lbs of trash that had been dumped in the area.   A very successful three days to start a new site.  Thanks for all your hard work West Linn students!

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Together, we can make a difference!

Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest AmeriCorps members Nicole Poletto and Lauren McKenna

West Linn HS @ Rinearson Creek on 4.17 and 4.18.2013

Gladstone HS @ Rinearson Creek on 4.18.2013

Rinearson Creek was feeling the love with 2 local high schools coming to restore it!  West Linn High School and Gladstone High School were geared up and ready to mulch and protect the native plants they planted!  Mulch helps the plant retain water in the warm summer months when these schools won’t be there to take care of them.  It also adds nutrients to the soil and helps suppress weeds!

Before we mulched, we learned about some Ethnobotany of our native plants, like Oregon Grape!  It is our state flower and is anti-microbial.  If you have a cold or a cough you can crush up the leaves and stem of the plant into a tea and it will make you feel better.

Students then got to work making mulch donuts for the native plants!  A few Gladstone students even had competitions for who could make the perfect mulch donut, but we will be honest, it was almost impossible to choose!

West Linn HS:

Gladstone HS:

A few West Linn students also caged a few conifers to protect them from beaver damage.  As if that wasn’t enough for a days work – we also spent some time reflecting on the year for the community newsletter that will be distributed at the end of the year to the surrounding community!

On Thursday, West Linn HS celebrated Global Youth Service Day by leading a tour of Rinearson Creek.  SOLVE’s Green Team students are part of the movement of 2,346 projects in 135 countries of youth giving back to their community to make the world a better place on Global Youth Service Day. Incredible!

Thank you so much to all the students of both West Linn HS and Gladstone HS for all of your hard work throughout the year!

Together, we can make a difference!

Bird Nerds

Photos and text by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest AmeriCorps Members Lauren McKenna and Nicole Poletto

Last weekend, a group of enthusiastic learners (most self-ranking as a 1 on the birding knowledge scale) gathered at Tryon Creek State Park to glean some info about common birds of the Willamette Valley — and get some good looks at the birds, too!

SOLVE Stream Team Captain, and former Green Team student, Sam Neverick and West Linn High School teacher Jim Hartman did an overview of some native birds and how they have been effected by pollution, climate change and habitat loss.  Then the group headed out into the park to see these cute critters themselves, using recorded bird calls to get responses.  Some favorites that the group spotted:

Red-Breasted Nuthatch: sounds a school bus backing up… beeep beeep beeep…

Winter Wren: such a looooong bird call

Stellar Jay: it has a black mohawk! It also likes to imitate other birds…

Pileated Woodpecker and the Downy Woodpecker: one fits in a beer stein, the other can fit in a coffee cup!  (Left: the larger Pileated Woodpecker makes more rectangular holes in trees)

And as a SOLVE event, of course we all gawked at the fabulous native plants in bloom!

In all we crossed 11 birds off our bird-sighting list!  A beautiful day with some feathered friends!

Thank you to Jim Hartman and Sam Neverick, for sharing your knowledge — and joy! — of birds.  We all learned something new and have a greater appreciation for remembering all those bird calls!

Thank you Tryon Creek State Park for hosting us and for the use of the Kraft room, too!

“I’m searching for macros’ in the rain”

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Written by Stream Team Captain, Sam Neverick.  Photos by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest member, Nicole Poletto.

West Linn HS @ Rinearson Creek on 3.20 and 3.21.2013

“I’m searching for macros ‘ in the rain
Just searchin’ in the rain,
What a glorious feeling,
And all of our class is happy again.
I’m laughing at clouds
So dark, up above,
The sun’s in my heart  
And I’m ready for next month’s field day with SOLVE.” 

- A revised/ more appropriate version of the song “Singing in the Rain”

West Linn High School student’s showed quite the high spirits while searching for macroinvertebrates in Rinearson Creek, in between rain showers and hail. Students learned about why we study macros (that actually live in the creek 24/7) versus just taking samples of the water from the creek. Students got up close and personal with these bugs and learned how to identify them. From Stoneflies,

                                                                                 to Mayflies,

                                                                                         to Caddisflies

                                                                                                 to True Flies, OH MY!

But before we got to identify our newly discovered friends, we had to catch them first!

West Linn Student's collecting samples (possible macroinvertebrates) in Rinearson creek

West Linn Student’s collecting samples in Rinearson creek

Student’s learned the proper techniques on how to collect “kicks” with their nets and the ideal spots to where these guys might be hiding (like in the riffles and under rocks).

After a lot of fun, West Linn students also learned about how these little guys give us information about the creek. For example, mayflies are much more tolerant to pollution than stoneflies.  Thus, the presence and absence of certain macros can tell us a lot about the health of the creek!

Students found small minnow mayflies, scuds, cased caddisflies, worms, snails, and even a leech!

We cannot say enough how much of a pleasure it is to work with such wonderful students! The dedication you guys have into making Rinearson Creek a healthy Watershed is what warms our hearts!