Mountain View Middle School students were greeted at Beaverton Creek Tributary with many falling leaves from nearby trees. Fall was in the air and watershed information was in our creative minds. We started our time together the way any good gathering begins- with a game! We each took various objects from our bag of riparian metaphors and came up with our most educated and creative guesses as to what they symbolize in a natural riparian corridor. Students applied ideas from their knowledge of healthy watersheds and remembered that tall trees shade our creek and keep it cool while their plant bodies can store pollutants to prevent them from getting in the stream, and their roots grow dynamically to hold in the soil on the banks! With this newfound appreciation for these native trees, we sought out to save them.
Meghan (SOLV) told us all about the various invasive plants at our site and how they might threaten the survival of our native tree and shrubs. After equipping us with knowledge regarding these plants, she told us how we can stop the invasive species from taking over! She told us about how to remove Armenian Blackberry, teasel, and morning glory. We talked about Reed Canary Grass, a devastatingly invasive grass at our site. Reed Canary Grass cannot simply be pulled out of the ground and removed forever. The only way to defeat Reed Canary Grass is with shade. Students were hopeful that the Red Osier Dogwood, Alder Trees, Douglas Spirea, and other native plants at our site will one day shade out this grass. All the while, we found many strange objects along our stream. We had not learned anything about native species of tires, duct tape or soccer balls growing in riparian zones, so we figured they didn’t belong there. While we do not appreciate people littering in our stream, we were quite elated to realize that our new soccer ball was full of air and our duct tape is still usable! The tire will be recycled by one of our wonderful community partners.
Lastly, we enjoyed our well-deserved lunch together and headed back to school. We can’t wait to visit our Tributary again soon!
Students- Keep thinking about a name for our Tributary! You are the stewards of this stream!