Bugs ‘n’ Coffee

Photos and text by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest AmeriCorps Members Lauren McKenna and Nicole Poletto

(City View Charter 7th/8th grades and St. Matthew’s 7th grade at Council Creek, 4/12/2013)

On what seemed like the first sunny day in awhile (at least the first sunny day for City View Charter’s 7th and 8th graders!), Council Creek got a double dose of love!

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On the east bank of the creek, City View blasted through maintaining about 60 newly planted native plants!  They laid down pre-used coffee bags (burlap sacks made from jute), donated by Boyd’s Coffee as well as mulched them.

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Some benefits of “coffee bagging”:

~ cuts down on the growth of invasive weeds right around baby native plants, especially Reed Canarygrass, by shading them out.  Reed Canarygrass seeds stay viable for up to 50 years!  Trimming it by hand is helpful right away, but it is shade that it really despises!

~ eventually decomposes, adding nutrients back to the soil

~ adds a “re-purposed” stylized look to restoration projects… recycled coffee bean bag pillows, anyone?!

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On the west bank of the creek, St. Matt’s was busy scoping out the creek for stream bugs.  Some specimens found included lots of snails (yay! but they are very pollution tolerant), some water boatmen, a few sculpin, and even a couple cased caddisfly larvae!  Caddisfly larvae are moderately sensitive to pollution, which could tell us that Council Creek has hope!  Some make cases for themselves out of found materials like gravel and plant material.  This caddisfly larvae seems to be encased in algae and reed canarygrass:

Cased caddisfly!

Cased caddisfly!

Thank you St. Matthew’s and City View!  And thank you to Boyd’s Coffee for the coffee bags!

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