Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest member, Nicole Poletto
Gladstone HS @ Rinearson Creek on 4.2.2013
It is the third and final trimester of the year which means a new class of Gladstone Gladiators will pick up where their peers left off and continue to improve the health of Rinearson creek!
We kicked off our first visit to Rinearson creek with a game of riparian metaphors. The word “riparian” literally means “bankside” when translated from Latin. How do you play this game? Well, we pulled items out of a bag and came up with metaphors for what they might represent in a healthy riparian zone. For example, sunglasses could be a metaphor for shade to keep the water cool and oxygenated. We came up with clever metaphors for strainers, camouflage shirts, yogurt containers, bird houses, and more!
We also talked about some of the invasive species at Rinearson creek, like Reed Canary Grass! Reed Canary Grass is a pesky invasive that can grow over 6 feet tall in the summer time. It has a crazy seed bank in the soil that can remain viable for 50 years. The native plants that we plant will shade out the Reed Canary grass once they grow tall enough – but they need our help to do it! So we grabbed some shears (which look like giant scissors) and started to cut the grass away from our native plants to give them some breathing room and sunlight to grow big and tall.
We worked among the full-grown Dogwoods and Willows that Gladstone students planted three years ago which served as a reminder of the reward of our hard work. One day other students will come to Rinearson and admire our progress from this year! And so the cycle continues…