Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest member, Nicole Poletto
Rex Putnam HS with the University of Tampa @ Boardman Wetlands on 3.11.2013
Hailing from “the sunshine state”, the University of Tampa (YES! Tampa, Florida!) brought sunshine and good spirits as they came all the way from the opposite corner of the country to volunteer with SOLVE during their spring break.
They kicked off the week at Boardman wetlands to learn why SOLVE restores riparian zones and why our Green Teams do what they do! Boardman Wetlands is plagued with invasive Reed Canary grass and Armenian Blackberry. Due to the complex seed bank, the only way to get rid of Reed Canary grass is with shade. Luckily, Rex Putnam students have been planting in the grass for the past two years and our natives are competing for space. Armenian blackberry however, has a gnarly root structure that can be dug out! Our spring breakers got to work removing invasive Blackberry to clear more area to plant our native trees and shrubs! After a quick lunch break, the University of Tampa students planted 40 Ponderosa Pines, Cascara, and native roses!
Then it was time for a MULCH PARTY with Rex Putnam High School! Terri and Katie from Oak Lodge Sanitary district also joined in the fun. We had a whole mulch pile to move and our coasts united to get the job done!
We mulch our baby natives to help suppress weeds that might grow up around the plant, provide extra nutrients, and help the plant retain water (especially during the warm summer months when Rex Putnam isn’t out to take care of them!). After we mulched all the plants in the Blackberry area, Putnam students began an assembly line to help our plants in the Reed Canary grass. At the end of the day, we mulched 300 native plants!
As Dr. Seuss says,
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
— The Lorax
We are so lucky to have so many people who care about the health of our watershed united at Boardman Wetlands to make Oregon a better place. Thank you Rex Putnam, Oak Lodge Sanitary District, Clackamas County Water Environmental Services, and of course, the University of Tampa!