Written by SOLVE Duke Intern, Emma
Last week, students from the Key Club at Clackamas High School came out to the Rock Creek Strickland-Newman site for the first time. CHS has played a vital role in improving the health of vegetation along Rock Creek with its involvement in SOLVE Green Team. It has been about a year since SOLVE planted along the Rock Creek site and the plants I saw were doing really well – including the invasive English Ivy. An invasive species is a plant or animal that is living in an area where it didn’t originate. They usually do well because they lack natural enemies and this makes it hard for native plants to compete with them. After a quick tour of the site, the students were easily able to identify the invasive plant and were eager to help us remove it. As Charlie demonstrated the best ways to remove the plant, everyone was surprised at how long each section of ivy actually was! Students would pull on one leaf and end up with a seven-foot long rope of plant!
With so many enthusiastic workers, the removal of the English Ivy went by really quickly and we made a group decision that litter cleanup should be our next priority. The removal of ivy and litter will give our native plants a fighting chance and it’s always nice to see the trash-free site and the piles of ivy that lay along the trail. Because of our efforts, native plants such as the Oregon Grape, Snowberry, and Big Leaf Maple will continue to thrive in the area. We look forward to helping the Key Club take care of Rock Creek for the rest of the summer!