Starting the Year with(out) Blackberries

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Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Northwest Members Lauren McKenna and Meghan Ballard, SOLVE Green Team Program Coordinator

Valley Catholic High School Environmental Science students may have just started their school year, but invasive blackberry have already come back to Johnson Creek near their school.  Which is actually perfect timing, because that is just what these students worked hard to remove.  They started their short but full class period with a “Riparian Metaphors” game comparing positive characterisitcs of healthy waterways to everyday objects.  Then away they went hacking at the Armenian Blackberry that started to regrow on the site near Johnson Creek, shovels and rakes and loppers, oh my!

Most of the small native plants there are doing excellent, but removing the blackberry is essential in allowing the new native plants to thrive, as opposed to being suffocated by invasives.  It’s important to not only cut down the tall, thorny blackberry canes, some of which tower overhead, but to also dig out the gnarly roots so it does not grow back.  After a whirlwind period of chopping, digging up and raking, the class had removed a large pile of blackberry so that the next time they visit this site, they can plant more native plants.  Success!

Thanks for your hard work!  We are so excited that you are part of Green Team this year and are already showing the fierceness necessary to conquer invasives and save Johnson Creek!

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