Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Northwest Member Lauren McKenna
Just after the rains softened up the ground and clouds cleared to reveal dry, sunny weather, Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School honed on the massive blackberry bramble at Willow Creek. It is actually MASSIVE. A little intimidating, but this is what they “do best”. You’ve never seen middle school students more excited to cut down and dig up invasive Armenian blackberry!
There were HUGE roots — some of them went back to the classroom as trophies — that are gnarly, very difficult to dig out, and definitley do not stabilize the soil. One root took two classes and nearly three hours to remove! It was about 4 feet deep! One student said that working on the blackberry was “really hard, but really fun!” The blackberry in this part of Willow Creek is like a solid ocean of green thorns.
Rachel Carson students got to spend half their time reflecting on Willow Creek and half the time doing blackberry removal. Students played the Riparian Metaphors game to review aspects of a healthy riparian (bankside) area and wrote some fabulous haikus and poems, too!
Thank you Rachel Carson, again, for working with enthusiasm!