You know you’re working with an awesome group of middle schoolers when their only remarks about a very cold and rainy day are, “I’m glad it’s not windy!” or “It could be way worse, guys!” We at SOLV were very impressed, humbled, and inspired by Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School’s incredible attitudes and hard work. After arriving to a very wet and muddy willow creek, these students definitely made us happy again!
Students carried numbers of shovels, Nootka Rose and Twinberry into the furthest section of our site at Willow Creek to plant. We laid out these shrubs and broke into three different groups.
Students tested the quality of water at Willow Creek with their teachers and only a few students tested the temperature in a more personal way by stepping/ falling into the creek. Still attitudes remained wonderful and happy!
We also planted many plants in a section completely new to RCEMS students! We are excited to see the ways these plants root dynamically into the soil and stabilize the bank, shade out reed canary grass and filter runoff from the nearby neighborhood.
Despite the thick and heavy mud we planted in, students still remained happy.
We then got to participate in an ethnobotany activity where we discovered the many ways people have used our native plants for medicinal and eatable purposes throughout history. We were surprised to find out the Oregon Grape has a yellow flesh that was used to make dyes, that Black Hawthorne was used to catch fish and pierce ears, and that people make tea with Douglas Spirea. We also talked about how Butterfly Bush is actually poisonous to butterflies but Douglas Spirea is a great native alternative.
The dedication of Rachel Carson Environmental Middle school in the rain made Willow Creek happy yet again, thanks for a great day!