Green Team East Side Summit a Success!

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On May 16th, nine of our Green Team Schools on the East Side of Portland came together for the East Side Summit.  Each school gave a 10 minute presentation by students on an aspect of stream restoration and ecology.  Students presented on topics such as birds species found on the Clackamas River by West Linn HS, macroinvertebrate surveys by Gladstone HS, beaver activity in a restored wetland by Rex Putnam HS, stream mapping on Beaver Creek by Portland Lutheran School, litter art by Gladstone HS, vegetation monitoring by Sam Barlow, a salmon toss by Clackamas HS and tools used in restoration by Sabin-Schellenberg.  In addition Spring Mountain Elementary made a video of their time at Mt. Scott Creek. 

We also got to hear from Jenny Dezso of the Clackamas River Basin Council gave a keynote speech on volunteerism and how it has shaped her career path.  Thanks to Jenny for sharing her story!

 All and all around 100 people were in attendance to hear great and informative presentations- great job to all who participated!  Thank you also goes out to Sesame Donuts and Noodles and Co for donating breakfast and lunch!  A big thank you to all who attended and also to our funders and partners who made this year in Green Team possible!  I am so proud of all the students who I have worked with this year- you are inspiring and we hope to see you next year out with Green Team!

Tiny Spineless Critters- cheers to Macros!

Green Team Week March 17th to March 21st

Written by Jesuit Volunteers Becca Strohm and Dane Breslin

Portland Lutheran School @ Beaver Creek March 19th

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Portland Lutheran was out with SOLVE this week to help restore Beaver Creek.  Upon arriving at Beaver Creek students found a large contraption called a “fish catcher” which (despite the name) is meant to survey fish populations.  Baby salmonoids are headed to the ocean after being spawned upstream and are surveyed by the Portland Water Bureau and then put back in the creek to be on their way.  This will give a clearer picture of what fish are in Beaver Creek.  After checking out the “fish catcher” students spent the day planting, removing blackberry and doing GIS work.  Students took water quality points and GPS coordinates of specific spots along the creek which they will be able to make into a map of Beaver.  Students also planted about 10 trees and 100 native shrubs along the bank as well as removing 20 sq feet of blackberry roots.  Great job Portland Lutheran!  Your enthusiasm and energy always inspires me- thanks for the hard work!

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Wednesday, March 19th

Rachel Carson at Willow Creek

This Wednesday something interesting happened at Willow Creek; Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School FINISHED planting all of the native trees and shrubs left at the site! This means that approximately 400 native plants have been added to Willow Creek this school year. This is an incredible accomplishment!  On top of planting native, Rachel Carson students continued learning native plant identification (many groups received 90-100% on the quizzes) and removed invasive blackberry roots form the newest planting site. Great job Rachel Carson, you are all amazing students!

Thursday, March 20th

Glencoe High School at McKay Creek

This Thursday, Glencoe High School freshman examined macro invertebrates from McKay creek using class room microscopes. The classes seemed to react with disgust, surprise and amazement at what they found- a large variety of tiny, spineless critters moving through the wetland.  Each student drew their favorite macro and worked in groups to identify what they found. The classes found damsel flies, water mites, aquatic snails and more. One group collected the water used with me in the morning. We all got a bit muddy gathering the macros. Thank you for all of your help and enthusiasm Glencoe!

Best,

Dane

 

Preventing Plastic Soup

Green Team Week Feb 24th to Feb 28th

Written by Jesuit Volunteers Dane Breslin and Becca Strohm

Spring Mountain @ Mt Scott Creek Feb 24th

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Spring Mountain Elementary came out for a slightly rainy day this week for bioengineering and some native planting.  Students installed 50 spirea stakes along the side of Mt. Scott Creek.  These stakes will take root and help to hold in the bank preventing erosion into the creek.  Students also planted 35 native trees and shrubs.  Spring Mountain Elementary students were Green Team Masters when asked the benefits of having native trees and shrubs instead of the invasive ivy which was at Mt. Scott.  They knew all the reasons including that native trees and shrubs provide food and habitat for native animals, help to prevent erosion by diversity in root structures, provide shade to cool the creeks down and can filter runoff flowing into the stream.   Great job Spring Mountain Elementary!  We’ll see you next time at Mt. Scott Creek.

Sam Barlow High School @ Beaver Creek Headwaters Feb 25th

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Sam Barlow came out for their second time to plant native trees and shrubs at Beaver Creek.  Students planted around 10 native trees including Western Red Cedars and a few Maples.  Red Cedars are allelopathic meaning the trees excrete a chemical from its root that effects the growth of other plants around it.  Students made sure the Cedars had plenty of room by ensuring the trees had a 10 ft radius around them before planting any other shrubs.  In addition to trees students planted 65 native shrubs including Oregon Grape, Snowberry, Salmonberry and Elderberry.  These berries will provide crucial food for native habitat around Beaver Creek.  Thanks for all the hard work Sam Barlow students.

Portland Lutheran @ Beaver Creek Feb 26th

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Portland Lutheran School spent a day doing bioengineering at Beaver Creek this month.  Dennis O’Connor from Habitat Concepts came out to teach them about bioengineering techniques and help to install some waddles along the bank.  What is a waddle you ask?  Waddles come in different types and PLS students installed a straw waddle and some fascine bundles.  The straw waddle is a 15 ft circular bundle of straw that students staked right along the side of the bank.  This will help to hold the bank in, preventing soil from falling into the creek from erosion.  The fascine bundles are a collection of live stakes tied into bundles that are placed into a small trench and staked in.  The live stakes were made from willow, dogwood and spirea which will eventually take root, becoming shrubs with extensive root structures that will also hold in the bank.

In addition to installing waddles students also live staked amongst the Reed Canary Grass next to the creek.  These stakes will eventually grow into small trees, shading out the Reed Canary Grass.  In the afternoon Roy Iwai from Multnomah County came to give a talk on the fish populations in Beaver Creek.  Students learned about the native and invasive fish populations in Beaver Creek and the problems associated with both a rural and urban stream.  All and all a great day out at Beaver Creek. Thanks for the enthusiasm Portland Lutheran!

Clackamas High School @ Rock Creek Confluence (2/27) and Rock Creek Troge (2/28)

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Clackamas High School students spent a two days at Rock Creek planting native trees and shrubs.  First students visited the Rock Creek Confluence with the Clackamas River for a very rainy day.  Representatives from Clackamas River Basin Council came out to inform the students about the larger project that is happening at the sight which includes in-stream installation of woody debris.  Students then got to work planting 175 native trees and shrubs along the hillside of Rock Creek.  Throughout the day students found a salamander and a native tree frog!

The second day students made a trip out to Rock Creek again but this time farther upstream.  Students were joined by 11 Japanese exchange students from the ESL school of Pacific International Academy at Marylhurst University.   The exchange students worked together with Clackamas students to plant but in addition got to work on their English skills including a lot of pop culture which was exchanged.  Overall students 120 native trees and shrubs along Rock Creek.  Thank you CHS and Marylhurst students- what a great day!

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Monday & Tuesday, February 24th and 25th  

Glencoe High School at McKay Creek

This Monday and Tuesday, each of Linda Wolf’s biology classes began the day with a litter in the environment presentation.  As a class, we examined the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and how plastic has detrimental effects on sea life.  When plastic escaped into our water system is breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces which become ingested by sea life and create a plastic “soup” in the ocean. After a short video explaining the garbage patch and a discussion on how to reduce the amount of plastic we use, the class headed outside for some mulching!

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Some ideas of how to reduce the amount of plastic include:

1)      Having and using a reusable water bottle rather than single use water bottles.

2)      Asking for ceramic mugs at coffee shops rather than to-go mugs. If you need to travel, bring your own mug!

3)      Use reusable shopping bags at the grocery store- many sea turtles eat plastic bags thinking they are jelly fish!

4)      Recycle all that you can!

5)      Try not to purchase items that are heavily packaged.

As a group we picked up around seventy pounds of trash and mulched over 400 native trees and shrubs! Excellent job Glencoe High School!

Wednesday, February 26th

Rachel Carson Middle School at Willow Creek

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This Wednesday Rachel Carson came out to Willow Creek for some intense Riparian restoration. As always, the class broke into three groups; planting, winter twig identification and blackberry removal.  Britta and Phil led the planting and filled in the hill by the road which had been recently cleared.  Our teachers lead the blackberry removal effort as there is (what seems like) thousands of roots which still require removal.  I led the winter twig identification station and quizzed each group on their understanding of Sam & Ted (opposite leaved plants) and some of the other common plants we install regularly.  Overall, I was very impressed with everyone’s work and continuously enjoy Rachel Carson students’ love of environmental sciences! Great Job!

 

Spring Is Coming!

Green Team Week March 10th to March 14th

Written by JVC Northwest Members Dane Breslin & Becca Strohm

Sabin-Schellenberg @ Rock Creek Troge March 10th

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Students in the Sabin-Schellenberg School of Forestry spent a day bioengineering at Rock Creek.  Dennis O’Connor from Habitat Concepts instructed the students on methods, techniques and benefits of bioengineering.   Students learned about how to live stake and how to install straw waddles and fascine bundles.  The waddles help as a barrier to soil that is falling into the stream.  The fascine bundles are made from live stakes of willow and dogwood that will take root and hold onto the soil, preventing erosion.  In addition students installed 50 stakes along the bank of Rock Creek.  Thanks Sabin students!

Sam Barlow @ Beaver Creek Headwaters March 10th

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Sam Barlow students spent a rainy day at Beaver Creek planting native trees and shrubs.  Barlow students have become master planters and planted 75 native shrubs despite the weather.  Thanks for the enthusiasm Sam Barlow!   After three rainy days of planting we are almost done- see you next time!

Rex Putnam @ Boardman Wetlands March 11th

Another trip out to Boardman Wetlands this week for Rex Putnam students to help restore Boardman Creek.  A few students were brave enough to cross the stream on our makeshift “bridge” in order to plant 10 native trees on the other side.  Despite the danger students surprisingly didn’t get wet when making this trek and successfully planted 10 willow and dogwood trees in the wetland.  The rest of the class spent the day beaver caging.  Recently we have found evidence of returned beavers at Boardman Creek which is pretty exciting and shows Rex Putnam student’s work is paying off.  But beavers do like to snatch our newly planted willow saplings so students put chicken wire around over 50 of our smaller willow trees to prevent beaver from taking them.  Soon those willow will grow nice and tall and the beaver will be able to take branches without risking the death of the entire tree.  Thanks for all the hard work Rex Putnam!

West Linn @ Clackamas Willamette Confluence March 11th and 12th

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West Linn students came out for the first time in the new year to  help restore habitat around the Clackamas-Willamette Confluence.  Students learned a little plant identification before getting started planting including what Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir, Oregon Grape, Salmonberry and Red Osier Dogwood look like.  Students had to be able to distinguish between native trees and native shrubs which can sometimes be difficult when they are saplings.  We plant our native shrubs 3 ft from other plants but are native trees must be 10 ft from other plants in order to ensure they have enough space to grow their roots.  West Linn students did a great job and planted 30 trees and 91 shrubs!  In addition students collected 280 lbs of trash!  An exciting point of the day was spotting two bald eagles fly overhead.  Thanks for the enthusiasm and hard work West Linn students!

Spring Mountain Elementary @ Mt. Scott Creek March 11th

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Spring Mountain Elementary made a trip out to Mt. Scott Creek this week.  Students mulched our newly planted natives, pulled English ivy and wrote a reflection.  Mulching is a new activity of the year so first we talked about the benefits of mulch.  Mulch is made of cut-up tree bark.  It provides many benefits for native plants including providing nutrients as the mulch breaks down into the soil, prevents weeds from growing around the plants and can help the plant drink because it can retain moisture.  Students mulched over 30 plants around Mt. Scott Creek.  In addition students pulled 30 sq feet of ivy which is still creeping back up around our native plants.  At the end of the day students worked on a reflection of their time throughout the year at Mt. Scott Creek.  Great job Spring Mountain Elementary students!  See you next time

Clackamas High School @ Rock Creek Troge March 13th

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Clackamas High School came out to do some native planting along Rock Creek this week. Students were greeted by a beautiful day with sunshine and a balmy 60 degree temperature!  First off we did a a review of the benefits of having our native plants instead of the invasive plants. Native plants provide habitat and food for native animals, especially birds, help to prevent erosion by having diverse root structures that hold onto the soil, stabilizing the bank, can filter out toxins and pollutants from runoff as it flows towards the stream and large trees provide shade which can help cool down the water in streams, creating a better environment for aquatic life.  Clackamas students planted 15 trees and over 200 shrubs in different areas along Rock Creek.  In addition students put beaver caging around 13 Red Alders saplings to protect them from beaver until they grow bigger.  Thanks for bringing the sunshine CHS students- thanks for doing great work at Rock Creek!

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Thursday, March 13th

Gilkey Middle School at Cedar Mill Creek

This Thursday, Gilkey Middle School did an exceptional job planting and mulching forty native trees and shrubs at Cedar Mill Creek.  The sixth grade students and their parents started the day by getting into planting groups and hauling buckets of mulch, plants and shovels to the site.  At the site there was a short planting demonstration and then the students did a top notch job of getting the sapling safely into the soil.  We also reviewed the importance of mulch and how it keeps the plant moist, warm and well fed!  During the middle of the day a native plant identification training session was held and the sixth graders learned about native opposite leaved plants, S.A.M. & T.E.D. (Snowberry, Ash, Maple, Twinberry, Elderberry, and Maple).  After memorizing these six plants the alternating leaved plants were much easier to learn.  We ended the day with a truly enjoyable stroll back through the sunlit forest.

Thank you so much Gilkey Middle Schoolers! I had an excellent time planting and mulching with you all and really enjoyed your class!

Valley Catholic High School at Johnson Creek

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Valley Catholic High School students were blessed with exceptionally nice weather this Thursday while planting around sixty native trees and shrubs at Johnson Creek.  The sun was out and the Indian Plums were beginning to bloom as students worked in pairs digging basketball shaped holes, trimming roots, removing nursery soil and making sure their young plants were firmly rooted.  Though our time together was short lived I had an excellent time with this class and am quite impressed with their planting abilities.  Thank you so much for coming out Valley Catholic!

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Friday, March 14th

Tobias Elementary School at Beaverton Creek Tributary

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Tobias elementary school students were very busy this Friday mulching all day with Green Team.  Each class worked in pairs and took around a half a bucket for each plant.  Before we began we discussed the differences between mulch, manure and compost. We also talked about the magic of mulch, and how it truly offers so much support to our young plants be acting as a source of nutrient, a guardian against close growing weeds, and an emergency supply of heat and water.  By the end of the day, over 300 native trees and shrubs were safely nested in a ring of mulch and what was once a GIANT mound of mulch appeared quite small. Thank you Tobias Elementary, it was wonderful mulching in the sunshine all day with you!

A Frozen Day at Beaver Creek

Sam Barlow High School @ Beaver Creek

By SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Becca Strohm

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Sam Barlow High School braved the cold and flurries this week all in the name of native plants!  After spending majority of the fall months removing invasive blackberry bushes from around Beaver Creek, students finally got to put plants in the ground and see how far their restoration efforts had come!   A short crash-course in winter-twig identification gave students the chance to learn the difference between opposite and alternate bud arrangement and a few of the native plants of Oregon.  Students then raced to plant native trees and shrubs before they got too frozen in the cold.  Overall Sam Barlow planted 100 native plants!  Great Job Sam Barlow students and hopefully next time it will be a tad warmer at Beaver Creek 😉

Staking in the New Year

Green Team Eastside Week Jan 27th to Jan 31st

By SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Becca Strohm

Clackamas Middle College @ Phillips Creek January 28th

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Clackamas Middle College students made their first trip of the new year to Phillips Creek to do some bioengineering.  Bioengineering uses techniques with live trees to prevent erosion along the side of the stream bank.  Installing live stakes along the side of a stream will allow for the roots to take hold of the bank side, holding in soil and preventing erosion.  Only a few plants are able to grow from stakes naturally,  Clackamas Middle College used Red Osier Dogwood but willow and spirea are also good to use.  Overall students installed 250 stakes that will take root and prevent erosion into Phillips Creek.  Thanks for all the hard work CMC!

Portland Lutheran School @ Beaver Creek January 29th

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Portland Lutheran School did a little bit of everything this month at Beaver Creek.  We began by learning about bioengineering where we use plant materials to stabilize stream banks.  Branches of willow trees were harvested and students created willow stakes by cutting the branches into two feet sections that were more than an inch in diameter.  Students installed the stakes right along the bank of Beaver Creek in groups of 3 or 5.  Overall students installed about 150 stakes!

Next students reviewed their plant identification skills in order to do some native planting. Portland Lutheran definitely has their opposite native plants down, knowing all the plants in SAM and TED.

Snowberry                                                   Twinberry

Ash                               &                             Elderberry

Maple                                                           Dogwood

Students planted about 75 native trees and shrubs along Beaver Creek.

After lunch students came back for one more round of beaver caging.  We caged the new willow stakes we installed as well as some of the native plants that beavers particularity like.  Portland Lutheran are masters of caging and caged 40 trees and stakes!

Great job Portland Lutheran!  All your hard work is really paying off at Beaver Creek!

A Chilly Week with Green Team

Green Team Week December 16th – 20th

Written by Jesuit Volunteers Becca Strohm and Dane Breslin

East Side Sites

Sam Barlow @ Beaver Creek December 17th

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Sam Barlow came out one last time before the holiday break to do some more work for Beaver Creek. It was Formal Day at school so our restoration efforts were performed with class as a few students wore dresses, ties and skirts despite the mud and cold.  Students dug out blackberry roots, lopped canes and raked into piles to make room for a native planting in the spring.  Thank you so much for all your efforts to remove invasive blackberry Sam Barlow students!  We will see you in 2014!

Portland Lutheran School @ Beaver Creek December 18th

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Portland Lutheran made their last trip of 2013 to Beaver Creek this week.  It was native planting day!  First we had to move all the plants to our site which took quite a bit of teamwork and then we placed them out for planting.  Each plant has different preferences of where it would grow best in addition to having be properly spread out. Portland Lutheran students did a GREAT job identifying plants and finding the correct area for that plant to grow.  All and all Portland Lutheran planted around 150 plants– excellent work!  While planting we found a SALMON right along the riverbank- living proof that salmon really are coming back to Beaver Creek!

After lunch students did some beaver caging which Portland Lutheran students are experts at, having done it at almost every outing we’ve had this year.  Beaver Creek has high beaver activity so it is important that we cage our small sapling that beaver enjoy which include Red Alders, Willows and Western Red Cedars.  In total students caged 40 native trees!  Thank you for all your work so far this year Portland Lutheran students.  We will see you at Beaver Creek next year!

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Tuesday 12/17

Valley Catholic High School at Johnson Creek

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Valley Catholic High School planted over 120 native plants in an area behind their school, that had previously been invasive blackberry, on Tuesday.  The classes began each session by learning some plant identification and where the plants we were installing preferred to be located. Then, a demonstration of how to put the plants into the ground was given, and students got to work in groups of two.  Some groups came up with very creative names for the plants they installed. Examples include: Charlie, Mike, Fresh Beyonce, J.Z., Shanendoah and Chelsea.  I applaud Valley Catholic on their creativity and cannot wait to do some more planting soon!

Thank you for all of your help this week,

Dane Breslin