Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School students did a lot of exploring at Willow Creek on Wednesday. Since many of the students had only been working at a small part at this large restoration project, we all went on a tour of the whole site. Older students and the teachers provided a lot of insight on what they have been doing there in the past and how much the sites they have worked on have improved as a result of their efforts. Willow that were planted as stakes when Rachel Carson first started there in 2004 are already nearly 20 feet high! It was quite obvious that the amount of shade these trees provide have significantly made an impact on the amount of invasive reed canary grass growing under them. But not all restoration work moves as fast. At another location at the site, students have been trying to restore an oak savanna habitat. The oak trees that had been planted several years ago have only grown a few feet, which is not surprising as oak trees are notoriously slow-growing. Despite all of this work and success at this site, there is still more that can be done to improve Willow creek.
Looking at how much past Rachel Carson students have made a difference in the creek obviously put a spark into these students when it came time to get some work done. The task at hand was to coffee bag the plants they had planted earlier this winter, to protect them from being choked out by invasive species like reed canary grass. Despite the wet and windy weather, students got a lot of work done. They also had the opportunity to begin scientifically investigating the community of plants living at Willow Creek by staking random survey plots and noting the kinds and amount of plants growing within each.
As always we at SOLVE appreciate your hard work, inquisitive minds, and great attitudes. We look forward to taking tours of Willow creek 8 years from now to see how much the work you’ve been doing this year has improved the creek!