A World of Difference in 11,125 Square Feet

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

Every Wednesday + no matter the weather + since October 2012 + 11,125 square feet of invasive blackberry cleared + 600 live dogwood and willow cuttings installed + 600 native trees and shrubs planted = A BIG DEAL!  Rachel Carson has spent their last 15 SOLVE days working at Willow creek near the corner of 173rd and Walker Road in Beaverton, Oregon and what a world of difference they have made! The site has gone from a dense and overwhelming spread of solid blackberry to a freshly planted plot filled with native common snowberryPacific ninebarkTall Oregon GrapethimbleberryRed Elderberry, Red Alder, Oceanspray, Red Osier Dogwood, SalmonberryVine maple, and Bigleaf maple.

They have spent that time not only removing invasive Armenian blackberry, but measuring parking lot runnoff, learning plant identicfication, drawing, writing and reflecting, composing poems and haikus, learning about how to inmprove their watershed, and the importnace of working together as a team to accomplish a common goal.

BEFORE on Day 1 

(Check out Rachel Carson’s first day here!)



Where’s the creek!? Can’t even see it yet!







AFTER on Day 15!




We did it!!!








Haiku for Rachel Carson

— by Green Team leader Lauren

Rain, shine, sleet, loppers,

Shovels, pots: ingredients

For a healthy creek!


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And for the “thank you”s…

Thank you to Rachel Carson’s students for your energy and hard work!

Thank you to Rebecca Hall and the rest of Rachel Carson’s dedicated teachers and parents!

Thank you to SOLVE’s Grean Team Program Coordinator, Meghan Ballard, for making this happen and keeping us on track!

Thank you for your guidance… and the square footage, Nicole!

Thank you to Clean Water Services for the plants!

Thank you to Youngnak Presbyterian Church for allowing us to utilize your parking lot and have access to Willow Creek in order to restore it!


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