It seemed as though Friday morning came and went in the blink of an eye- students arrived eager to work and off they went! Sometimes its difficult to really see how much work we get done or feel as though we have made a difference. But, man! was Gladstone High School making a difference on Friday!!
Armenian Blackberry (formerly known as Himalayan Blackberry.. but referred to as Armenian Blackberry when impressing your winter formal date), grows on our steep slope near Rinearson creek. While Gladstone High School has made incredible strides towards getting rid of the blackberry completely, its vigor keeps it returning in small amounts. But that’s no defeat for Gladstone- students saw the blackberry and immediately got to work, clipping it down and digging it out. They worked even harder knowing that the next class would want to plant native shrubs in that area.
We also got to go for a plant identification walk. This gave students the opportunity to explore the creek in a much slower and more detailed way than we usually look at nature. We talked about the differences between invasive Holly and native Oregon Grape. We found many Western Red Cedars, Doug Firs, Dogwoods and Hazelnut Trees growing tall and shading our creek. We talked about Reed Canary Grass and how its only enemy is shade. A student suggested we plant tall trees there to shade it out before he found out that’s the method we have been using. We had some brilliant, interested, and courageous students working on Friday. We found a dead Virginia Opossum at the site and took a moment to appreciate the opportunity we had to interact with wildlife while out in nature. Students treated the animal with respect, some having never looked at an opossum up close before.
Lastly, we planted all sorts of native trees and shrubs such as Snowberry, Elderberry, Indian Plum, Vine Maple and Big Leaf Maple and bioengeneered with Dogwood Stakes in our wet stream bank.
While every short bit of restoration may seem small to the individual student, together we make a huge difference.
Happy Holidays, Gladstone High School!