Willow Stakes and Winter Snow

Green Team Week December 2nd to the December 6th

Written by Jesuit Volunteers Dane Breslin and Becca Strohm

A Shout-out to our Green Team students who work at Beaver Creek!  This article was in the Gresham Outlook this past week.

coho return

East Side Sites

West Linn High School @ Clackamas-Willamette Confluence December 3rd and 4th

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West Linn students in Mr. Hartmann and Bingham’s classes came out to do some native planting at the Clackamas-Willamette Confluence.  First students learned a little bit about plant identification for our native species.  Different plant parts can help you distinguish between plants including the terminal bud, lateral buds and lenticels.  Lenticels are pores on the steam which allow for gas exchange, depending on the plant they can be more distinct.  The lateral buds are the most common way to distinguish trees because they are all quite distinct and in different patterns.

Unfortunately, for the first class on Wednesday, the little saplings were frozen in their pots. We did our best to ‘hug’ them and heat them up.  By the second class, the day had warmed up significantly and the plants were more easily removed from their pots.

Thank you for your enthusiasm and flexibility West Linn!

Overall West Linn planted 165 plants!  Thanks for a great job West Linn students!

La Salle High School @ Phillips Creeks December 4th and 5th

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La Salle students planted 100 native trees and shrubs at Phillips Creek this week.  Despite the cold, students were able to dig holes and with a little coaxing get our native plants out of their frozen buckets.  Students also learned a little plant identification skills including our friends SAM and TED which are our native trees and shrubs that have opposite lateral bud arrangement.  These include snowberry, ash, maple, twinberry, elderberry and dogwood.  While planting we perfected the perfect sized hole by finding a basketball and laying it inside insuring our hole was basketball sized.  La Salle students also picked up a bunch of trash lying around Philips Creek.  Thanks for your dedication in the cold La Salle students!

West Linn High School @ Clackamas-Willamette Confluence December 5th

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West Linn students came out for a final day on Thursday but it was so cold the night before the ground was frozen over.  This made planting our native trees and shrubs too difficult so instead students did some invasive removal and litter clean-up.  Students found a few tires, a soccer ball and a bunch of other litter clearing 50 lbs of trash.  There was also lopping of blackberry and some pulling of ivy.  Great job West Linn and thanks for your enthusiasm!

WEST SIDE SITES

Glencoe High School at McKay Creek

Monday 12/2 and Tuesday 12/3

This Monday and Tuesday, Glencoe High school installed over three hundred and sixty Red Osier Dogwood stakes. Each stake contains a growth hormone that gives it the potential to one day become a full grown Dogwood!

The classes first learned how to prepare live stakes. The steps are listed below.

1)      Harvest up to ¼ of an adult Red Osier Dogwood, or Willow.

2)      Cut branches into 2 foot long segments. Make sure that the bottom is cut at an angle, so that the stake will move into the ground easier.  The top should be flat, making the stake easier to mallet.

3)      Remove any side branches or buds from the stake. All energy in the stake must go towards developing root structures, not buds and leaves.

4)      Attach pink tape to make locating plants later easier.

5)      Find a wet area and mallet the stake halfway into the ground.  Place within one foot of each other to more effectively shade out the invasive Reed Canary Grass.

Glencoe installed stakes in several different areas behind their school building. The hope is that by spring forests of Dogwood will battle with Reed Canary Grass, hold onto loose soils, and create new habitats for native animal life.  After each class, students drank warm cups of hot cocoa and worked on reflections for Honoring Our Rivers!  It has been a joy serving with Glencoe this year and the changes we have made to McKay Creek are already visible!

Thank you for all your hard work.

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City View Charter School at Council Creek

Thursday 12.5

This Thursday, City View Charter School braved the cold and learned how to make and propagate Willow stakes at Council Creek.  We started above the creek with a Willow stake making class.  Then, the students worked in pairs down in the wetland to break through the frozen ground and install the stakes they made.  Even though it was freezing cold, the sun did come out and the landscape quite literally glittered with frost and snow.  City View installed around sixty Willow and Dogwood stakes and then headed back to the class to complete a reflection on bioengineering and planting this semester.

I am so proud of this class’s hard work and amazed at their vigor for environmental restoration (even when the weather is trying).

To all of my classes this week I want to thank you and wish you a happy holiday season!

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Dreaming of spring & loving the snow,

Dane

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