Rachel Carson Middle School students visited Willow Creek Wednesday, October 2nd for riparian restoration projects. Students split into groups and cycled through three different stations focused on invasive plant removal, water quality testing, and site familiarization.
At the first station, students played the Riparian Metaphor game to reestablish what was learned in class during the previous watershed presentation. Sixth grade students were then led by eight grade students on a tour of the site. The either graders shared personal stories of blackberry bushes that had towered over their heads, the efforts required to remove the gnarled blackberry roots, and planting native shrubs and trees which are currently growing magnificently. Finally, students were introduced to some fundamental plant identification skills and then quizzed! Their prior knowledge of plant i.d. was truly impressive!
The second station went down to the edge of the creek and took numerous measurements regarding water quality, while the third station used shovels and loppers to dig out the wretched blackberry that survived last years removal efforts. Due to the blackberry removal, a plethora of weeds were suddenly given the opportunity to spring forth. These weeds included thistles, Morning Glory & the ominous Deadly Purple Night Shade.
All in all, it was a wonderful day and much was learnt about the changing face of Willow Creek. No longer burdened with Armenian Blackberry, the Red Osier Dogwoods and native willows are thriving. Most were planted a mere six months ago and now towered over us while we worked. These native trees will keep the soil in place and keep Willow Creek cool so that our fish can breathe easy.
Keep up the amazing work Rachel Carson Middle School & Thank You!