This Monday as the Portland metro area was enjoying a break from the current dump of rain we’ve been experiencing, Rock Creek Middle School 7th graders enjoyed a nice break from their normal classroom routine. On this unexpectedly pleasant sunny day, nearly 40 Rock Creek Middle School Students arrived to help restore a degraded section of their eponymous Rock Creek.
This section very recently was a grassy slope that led right up to the stream. The shallow root system of the grass was not providing adequate stability for the stream bank, and there were few trees providing habitat and shade for the creek. A group of volunteers had come in earlier in the winter to plant over 100 native plants and trees in this area. However, unfortunately just planting the trees won’t be enough to fully restore this site; lots of maintenance is needed of these planted plants so that they become established and can survive in the long run. Today Rock Creek Middle School helped out with one such maintenance techniques: Coffee bagging. By staking down biodegradable sacks that once carried raw coffee beans around the base of each of these plants, Rock Creek students were helping suppress anything from growing right around these plants in the next several months. This gives these little guys a head start so that no grasses or fast growing forbes overcome the native plants, taking away resources like sunlight and water. After tucking the plants in for the rest of winter, we also sang a few of them a lullaby and told them bedtime stories (this last bit is not really necessary for restoration’s sake, but we like to think that it helped them become more comfortable in their new environment).
Students also spent some time reflecting on rivers and streams and composed some very nice reflections about their time both at Rock Creek and at other rivers. Here are a few amazing Haikus from yesterday:
Help me clean the creek
And for all the plants to drink
And for the green grass
Birds, birds everywhere
Chirping, singing songs
Wanting to hear me
Thanks Rock Creek for all of your hard work and your beautiful insights!