Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Northwest Member Lauren McKenna
Village Home @ Johnson Creek 10/19/2012
Just before the weekend’s downpour, Village Home parents and youth returned to Johnson Creek for a tour, a game reviewing Riparian zone concepts, and some Armenian blackberry removal. They learned about the history of the Johnson Creek area, too. The north part, near the railroad tracks, has some 11+ year old Douglas firs planted about 10 years ago (despite the fact that restoration work near disturbed areas (like train tracks) is often a challenge). They also learned about the challenges of native beavers (hence why baby native plants need a cage around them for protection), the endless amounts of Reed canarygrass growing in the creek, and some plant ID. Some native plants we looked at:
Snowberry, genus Symphoricarpos: aka “corpse berry”
Trailing Blackberry, Rubus ursinus: has separate male and female plants
Red Alder, Alnus ruba: fixes nitrogen in the soil into a usable form
Beaked Hazelnut, Corylus cornuta: has papery leaves
Tall Oregon Grape, Mahonia aquifolium: is not the same as invasive English Holly!
Sword Fern, Polystichum munitum: can ease a brush with stinging nettle
Then for the good stuff…blackberry removal! They plowed through a monoculture of Armenian blackberry in a short amount of time, lopping off the canes and digging out the roots. One boy asked when the day was done if we could work for 20 more minutes!
Great work! Thank you for your enthusiasm and for being stewards of Johnson Creek!