Early Wednesday morning, a bus full of 30 St. Matthew’s School 6th graders pulled up to Ryland Park overlooking Council Creek. Upon just glancing at this site, all of the students could tell that a lot of work needed to be done. A sea of invasive reed canary grass sprawled out before them, with a few native trees and shrubs, just barely hanging on. There were no trees shading the creek, no deep roots stopping soil from eroding away, no biodiversity of any kind to invite local wildlife to use this natural space as a place for food or shelter, just a desert of grass.
Once they saw what they were up against, the plucky kids from St. Matthews picked up their tools and got to work. Some got to work planting willow and ash trees. However, the grass had created a thick shallow root mat that one needed to chop through to even get to the soil below, it was hard work, and if you weren’t careful, the mud got the better of you (as some students quickly discovered). Meanwhile, another group was scouring the site for some healthy dogwood and willow trees to take branches from which to make stakes to stake in the ground. These living stakes will take root and propagate into new trees, creating that nice shade and deep root systems that this creek so desperately needs.
After 2 hours of hard work, and nearly 150 new plants in the ground to show for it, these students really made a huge difference in the future of Council Creek. Thanks St. Matthews!