This morning when we woke up, after looking out the window at the burly weather, we anticipated a message from Evergreen Middle School asking to reschedule their planned trip out to Council Creek, but we never got it. When we saw the bus pull up and see the site and how the wet it was, we were afraid the bus would turn right around and go back to their warm, dry school, but it didn’t. When the students got out of the bus and actually felt the rain and cold wind, we were worried that they would be hesitant in getting to work, but boy were we wrong!
It may have been pouring out at Council Creek but that couldn’t stop this eager, happy, and positive group of leadership students from restoring these wetlands! Evergreen Middle School students and members from the Lions Club powered through one of the biggest rains of the fall to plant over 120 Sitka Willows along Council Creek today. They paraded down the slope with potted willows and shovels in hand, without a doubt they could plant in the thick, muddy wetland… even on a day like today. Sure enough, their confidence was justified as they contently and patiently planted in seemingly impossible soil to deal with.
Council Creek has seen a lot of urban pressure and is almost entirely overrun with invasive reed canary grass. What historically had a nice forested riparian zone is now a very open monoculture of this one type of grass. The willow that the students planted will grow up nice and tall and provide shade that will keep the invasive grass at bay, and will also provide shade for the wetland, contributing to keeping the stream cold. The roots from the plants will grow deep and hold onto the soil and prevent it from washing into the stream, unlike the shallow root system of the reed canary grass. Students also spent some time discussing with Charlie how this riparian zone should look if it were completely healthy using everyday objects.
We loved the enthusiasm of our middle school students and Lions Club volunteers today and hope to see them again on courageous SOLV volunteer events in the future!