…And We’re Back!

After a seemingly short break between semesters, Valley Catholic is back on the ground announcing their commitment to restoring Johnson Creek!  After a very rainy week, the sun peaked out for the afternoon!  It was the perfect afternoon to do some restoration outside.

First we asked each other why we are even doing this in the first place.  After you get into a pattern, its always good to step back and ask yourself why.  Its even better when you can answer with great responses like the students of Valley Catholic did.  Students said our plants will grow tall to shade the creek, keeping the water temperature down, dissolved oxygen up, and will therefore support more wildlife.  They also mentioned how the diversity and depth of roots of our native trees and shrubs will secure the soil, decreasing erosion into Johnson Creek.  While an hour of planting at a time does not seem like very much, we remembered that the work we are doing really does make a lasting, positive impact.

Because it is winter and trees and shrubs look a little differently than they do with leaves, berries, and flowers in the spring and summer, we reviewed the basics of twig identification.  We learned that some plants have alternately arranged lateral buds and some have oppositely arranged lateral buds.  This is important to remember because there are only about 8 very common “opposite” plants and the process of elimination can really help with plant identification in the winter.

We used the accronym our opposite friends, “SAM and TED”

S: Snowberry

A:Oregon Ash

M:Maples

&

T: Twinberry

E: Elderberry

D: Dogwood

You could also call these the “MAD SET” plants if you are more of the rocker type.

The two plants we focued on were Snowberry and Dogwood, both “opposite” plants.  Students planted the Snowberry in drier, upland ground, and we planted dogwood in the wetland area.

Students overall did a phenomenal job education each other and taking care of their creek.  Johnson Creek and SOLVE are glad you are back!

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