It had been silently growing for several years. After arriving in the scat of some long-forgotten bird, the Armenian blackberry had been slowly taking over the riparian forest of Johnson Creek. Nothing could stop it: it grew faster than the helpless alder saplings, it grew taller than the poor snowberry shrubs, it grew thicker than the native trailing blackberry. It looked like all was helpless and that the entire forest community had to bow down to this thorny tyrant. But there was hope!
This Tuesday, a pack of 8th graders from the nearby Valley Catholic School arrived on the scene, shovels, clippers, and rakes in hand, and the ideal of freedom in their minds; the freedom for all native plants to have a chance to cohabitate together in a biodiverse ecosystem. They battled the invasive bully, and fought valiantly. The brambles, however, stood their ground and fought back hard. Despite some casualties of scratched and occasionally punctured skin, the noble 8th-graders were able to push back the leafy oppressors and won back much of the forest for a freer, healthier plant community. Other invasive species heard the battle and fled in fright of also being subject to the 8th-grader’s vendetta against non-native persecutors, including an American bullfrog who fled through the battle grounds. Ultimately the Valley Catholic 8th-graders won back much of the forest floor for the persecuted native species.
The Johnson Creek community thanks the brave 8th-graders who showed up this day to help save them from the tyranny of these thorny autocrats.