It was no ordinary day out at Willow Creek. To switch things up right from the beginning, we headed over to a different part of the creek new to some of our students. Willow Creek is a fairly large site and we as students of Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School are stewards of the entire area.
Students planted some Nootka Rose, Twin Berry, and Ninebark around the site. We also tested the water quality and were happy to find the stream to be doing pretty well! On a walk we saw a nice little waterfall and water moving at a good pace. Our banks are in the process of being stabilized it appears!
Students also learned about marine debris and how 80% of trash in the ocean is land-based from areas just like Willow Creek. We talked about the ways plastic can harm and kill marine wildlife and how it does not biodegrade, it only photodegrades and breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces. We talked about the way we try to rise above plastics in our every day lives. Students use tuperware instead of plastic sandwich bags, have reusable water bottles, bring their own mugs to coffee shops, buy music online instead of CDs, and steer clear of plastic utensils, plates, and cups.
We did a trash clean up of Willow Creek to rid our waterways of plastics and other garbage that could end up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We found a ton of really interesting trash: tennis balls, metal stakes, plastic bags, soda bottles, a skull of an animal (which wasn’t really trash at all.. but very interesting!), a Ensatina Salamander (which was a very happy finding!) and even an Oregonian newspaper vending machine!
It was a day of unusual and helpful discoveries for sure! Willow Creek is sure glad to be a little more trash- free now!