A fresh start for Willow Creek

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Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest Members Lauren McKenna and Nicole Poletto

Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School at Willow Creek 10-10-12

This morning when Rachel Carson students began to take their usual walk to Willow Creek, they stopped short across the road.  It was finally time to begin to connect restoration sites and tackle a new area of invasives.  The creek is not even visible here, the looming Blackberry overhead has taken over.  This used to be what Rachel Carson’s restorations sites originally looked like years ago.  The seventh and eighth graders were wide-eyed with excitement of this new challenge.

Students grabbed some loppers and rakes and began to bring the Blackberry to their doom.  Canes were being ripped out right and left, and brush piles of Blackberry began to grow taller.  Students continued to plow further and further into the pile, taming the pile back a couple of feet!  Eventually, they carved out a tunnel known fondly as “The Rampage.”  The Rampage provided a look-out point to the creek below.

Students also got a chance to reflect on the effects of invasive species in the Riparian metaphors game led by Lauren (SOLVE) and through reflection activities led by their teachers.

It is amazing how much Blackberry can be removed in 4 hours with lots of help!  Looking at their hard work, one student exclaimed, “That is what my school does best!”  We would agree – Rachel Carson you are awesome Blackberry removers and creek restorers.  Thanks so much for all of your help, we can’t wait to see what the site will look like at the end of the year!


AFTER – We cut the Blackberry a few feet back, not to mention the tunnel! INCREDIBLE!

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