Live Stakes, Frozen Mornings & Winter Twig Identification

By: JVC Northwest Volunteer Dane Breslin

Saturday, February 1st

Forest Grove High School

This Saturday Forest Grove High School met at Gales Creek and we planted a variety of native plants and removed invasive blackberry.  The day was surprisingly sunny and everyone was in high spirits as we reviewed the planting basics.  Ben Crabtree’s class is particularly self-motivated so it wasn’t long before ALL the plants were safely nestled into the soil and we busily began cleaning mid-sized Western Red Cedars and Ponderosa Pines from blackberry that had grown over them!  During lunch, the class surprised me with a birthday surprise- homemade brownies & truffles!  This truly made my day and I am so grateful for working with such an incredible school!

Thank you again for all of your dedication and hard work Forest Grove!

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Wednesday, February 5th

Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School

This Thursday, Rachel Carson Middle School came out to Willow Creek for a freezing day of bioengineering, winter twig identification and (of course) invasive blackberry removal.  To kick off the day, we dug up loads of ancient blackberry roots!  The hill we worked on needs to be cleared so that we can install our lovely native plant friends.

Next, the students broke into three groups which cycled through stations. The first station huddled together against the wind and learned how to identify plants based on the subtle clues still available during winter- buds, leaf scars and overall plant shape/color.  This station went well, though most students had a difficult time writing since their hands were frozen!  The next group went back out into the old blackberry patch with Becca to lop the final stragglers down and dig up roots.  The final group installed live Willow stakes with Phil down by the creek. The Willow Stakes will burst into life in the spring and their roots will efficiently hold in the soil reducing turbidity and general muddiness while shading Willow Creek from the harsh gaze of the sun. The reduction in sun exposure will then lead to colder waters and higher levels of dissolved oxygen (which is part of the reason we do all this great work)!

Thank you so much Rachel Carson- your knowledge always impresses me!

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Dane Breslin

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