Native Plant Heroes!

Text and photos by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Northwest Members Lauren McKenna and Nicole Poletto

Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School @ Willow Creek 1/16/2013

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“One more root, ONE MORE ROOT!”

Not your usual cheer among a class of middle school students. But this is not your usual bunch of middle school students. These students brave the wind, rain, snow, ice and cold to care for their dear Willow Creek. So far, they have cleared a solid hunk of invasive, spiky, icky Armenian blackberry, and have planted over 200 native trees and shrubs (40 this time!), like Red Osier Dogwood and Snowberry.

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Gently giving this dogwood a new home!

One favorite part of the process, besides getting head-to-boot muddy, is naming their newly planted shrubs friends.  This week’s theme seemed to be “Famous action movie heroes ”  One vine maple (Acer circinatum) is now know as “Bilbo Baggins“, and a baby dogwood (Cornus sericea) bear the name “Chewbacca” (because dogwoods look sort of exactly like him!), and another “Liam Neeson.”  As long as we remember what species they are… !  Pretty soon, Bilbo and Chewbacca will be the real heroes of Willow Creek, providing shade and preventing erosion.

Thank you again, Rachel Carson!

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