Native Trees, Please!

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Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Northwest Lauren McKenna

Forest Grove Community School @ Gales Creek 11/01/2012

After a cold and rainy Halloween, Forest Grove Community School returned to Gales Creek to find it much wetter than before and ready for them to plant trees and test the water quality of the collecting ponds.

Native trees will provide shade, stabilized the creek bank, filter out toxins and provide wildlife habitat.

The lively bunch planted about 50 native trees — Western Red Cedar, Scouler’s and Pacific Willow and Oregon Ash — along the creek where they had cut down the invasive Reed Canarygrass; they also learned a little about these trees, about lenticels and about why we are planting them here.  Oregon Ash, for example, is great in degraded soil, like the soil by Gales Creek.  Willows offer lots of shade and can be planted from cutting that will grow into whole new trees!  Some students had some special one-on-one time with the trees and got to draw them.  Others strapped on waders and hopped into the creek to test water quality.

Lenticels are pore-like spots of tree trunks that help with gas exchange (especially oxygen from the air). Trees like Oregon ash and Red Alder have especially visible lenticels. Their large lenticels allow them to do well in degraded soil.

When asked what their favorite part of the day was, most students said getting into the water to test it and getting muddy from planting trees!

Thank you FGCS for another fun filled day!

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