Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Northwest Members, Lauren McKenna and Nicole Poletto
Despite the near 100 degree weather, students from the Clackamas High School Key Club continued their weekly visit to Rock Creek. The native plants planted 6 months ago needed a good watering, especially during this week’s heat! Even though the students were few, they were determined to get to all the young plants while having fun at the same time. They were not alone in the effort; the new members of the Green Team and “Charlie” the cat (in honor of last year’s Green Team Jesuit Volunteer) joined in as well! Arthur excitedly hopped into the creek armed with decorative rain boots to begin filling the buckets for the bucket brigade up the hill. Plants such as Sword fern, Western hemlock, Douglas fir, and Snowberry rapidly soaked up the much needed watering.
Once the thirst of the plants were quenched, everyone took a water break to quench their own thirst. In order to reduce the seed dispersal of the invasive Armenian blackberry, everyone decided it would be both productive and delicious to eat as many blackberries as possible before they remove them next week. When everyone had their fill of water and blackberries, Meghan (SOLVE) led everyone on a plant identification walk. The Western Red Cedar was the first stop, also known as “The Tree of Life.” The students learned how to spot a Vine Maple (its 9 pointed leaf spells out its own name). They also witnessed first hand the vengeance of the invasive Japanese Knotweed and learned that the Sword fern can sooth an unfortunate encounter with Stinging Nettle. When their time together came to an end, everyone returned home full of blackberries and new knowledge.