Portland Lutheran says “see you later” to Beaver Creek

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Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest members Nicole Poletto and Lauren McKenna

Portland Lutheran School @ Beaver Creek on 4.25.2013

Once again, Portland Lutheran School brought, energy and enthusiasm to Beaver Creek for their last outing.  They also had a new friend that day – SUNSHINE!  For the past 4 outings, Portland Lutheran students have been working in the pouring rain and hail to restore Beaver Creek.  Sunshine was a great thank you for all of their hard work!

Students completed individual inquiry projects, testing hypotheses about water quality of Beaver Creek.  Some students collected macroinvertebrates, some measured the stream width, some took water quality measurements using Vernier’s Lab Quest equipment.

Portland Lutheran also wrote reflections for a community newsletter to be distributed to the surrounding community.  The newsletter would inform residents about all of their restoration activities throughout the year.  Students distributed the newsletters full of their artwork, articles, and poems for the residents of Troutdale to be inspired!

One of the poems featured was:

“Better than we found it”

We go to Beaver Creek and we work

We clear the blackberries

And spread the mulch

We hope to leave it better than we found it.

We go to Beaver Creek and we work

We map the stream

And check the water quality

We hope to leave it better than we found it.

We go to Beaver Creek and we work

We plant Alder and Red Dogwood

We help the habitat

We hope to leave it better than we found it.

But there is dirty runoff

And there are plants that shouldn’t be there

And I really hope it is not too late

To leave it better than we found it.

We hung out by the Sandy River, ate lunch, and basked in the glorious sunshine before we headed back up to our restoration site.  This was our last chance to protect the baby natives we planted from invasive species and the hot summer months!  We mulched 50 plants to help them retain water and add more nutrients to the soil.  We also coffee-bagged 50 plants to help suppress invasives from growing too close to our plants.  It was hotter down by the stream than expected, and some students even decided to make their jeans shorts instead!

To finish the day, we ate donuts and celebrated our progress at Beaver Creek.  The site transformed from a wall of Armenian Blackberry to a sea of native trees and shrubs and willow stakes.  As a student said, “As an invasive it did not naturally evolve to live with everything here.  Something brought it here.  Humans did this so we are destined to serve nature by defending her offspring and her home.” 

Portland Lutheran rejoices after a year of stewardship at Beaver Creek!

Portland Lutheran rejoices after a year of stewardship at Beaver Creek!

Thanks to Portland Lutheran School’s dedication we have made Beaver Creek healthier for future generations.  They came out not only for a class period, but for a whole school day taking the Tri-Met bus to our site!!! Incredible. See you next year!

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