Bioengineering Champions

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Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest member, Nicole Poletto

Clackamas High School @ Rock Creek on 2.20, 2.21, and 2.22.2013

Not one, but SEVEN classes came out to Rock Creek within a 3 day period to care for Rock Creek through bioengineering!  Bioengineering uses natural and native plant materials to help control for erosion – which is something that we desperately need on the hillside at Rock Creek that is prone to landslides!

Our first day at the creek was a beautiful sunny day where we harvested branches from Cottonwood and created live stakes with Mrs. Zahm’s class.  In the afternoon Mr. Gwin’s class installed them into the hillside.  On our next two days, unfortunately, we did not luck out with the weather.  In the rain, Mr. Shroufe’s students armed themselves with Willow stakes and prepared to stop erosion in its tracks!  We installed Willow stakes into the hillside – but that’s not all!  We discovered existing groves of Willow on the hillside and decided to try a new method of bioengineering.  We bundled the live Willow and Dogwood stakes together and buried them in a trench around the Willow grove.

Some classes embarked on a nature walk and learn about some Ethnobotany.  Ethnobotany is the study of native and cultural uses of the gifts that our native plants provide.  A few classes also played Rock, Paper, Scissors, EVOLUTION!  We evolved from an egg, to a bunny, to a snake, to a monkey, to a T-rex and made up our own order (since all of these animals totally evolved from each other, right?)!

Clackamas students not only restored the riparian zone, they also learned a lot, had a lot of fun, maybe got a tan or maybe got a little wet – it’s all an adventure in the great outdoors!

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SOLVE’s Annual Women in Science day will be held at Glen Otto Park in Troutdale on March 23rd from 9-1.  Girls – Are you interested in exploring a career in science? Come chat with mentors currently in the science field over breakfast!  In the afternoon we will be planting trees up the road at Beaver Creek!  Register online at : http://www.solv.org/get-involved/events/women-science-day.  See you there!

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