Green Team West Side Summit!

This years Green Team West Side Summit was a true success! Becca, Nicole and I are incredibly proud of all of our Green Team classes and are very thankful to everyone who donated food to our event including Noodles & Company, Einstein Bagels and Voodoo Donuts.

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The event began in the morning at Valley Catholic High School and around 250 students were in attendance. After a quick snack, students took their seats in the auditorium and the presentations began.  First, Lori Hennings, a senior natural resource scientist Metro, gave an inspiring speech connecting students work on Green Team to the environmental as a whole. We are all so grateful to have had her as the keynote presenter. Then, each school presented on a different aspect of the Green Team year that they found important and explored an aspect of stream restoration in depth.

City View Charter talked about the native birds of Council Creek and even played the bird calls so that we could hear what they sound like.  Valley Catholic High School students talked in depth about macro invertebrate surveys and mulching. Forest Grove High School and Aloha High School both performed inspiring skits about the ensuing drama between invasive and native plants at Gales Creek and Butternut Creek. Glencoe High School presented about the evolving state of McKay Creek. Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School presented on William Greer’s bee box project at Willow Creek and showed pictures of how Willow Creek has evolved due to the continued efforts of Green Team. Finally, we showed a video of Tobias Elementary schooler students singing “The Eight Days of SOLVE” and Forest Park Elementary School’s video titled “How to Plant”.   Both video can be viewed on the SOLVE Green Team website.

Overall, the event was informative for all in attendance and the day was rounded out with more snacks and lunch! I am so proud of each and every one of my students and was overwhelmed with the amount of positive feedback that came my way during the presentation.

Great job this year West Side schools, I will truly miss working with you all!

Sincerely,

Dane Breslin

William’s Bee Boxes

willsolveboxesperfect

By: William Greer

Have you eaten any fruit today? An orange, an apple, some strawberries? Maybe some cashews? Have you ever thought about how these foods are produced? Hopefully you have. But do you know what helps to produce them? There is human labor involved, but the majority of the production of these foods are done by pollinators. Pollinators, which you may have thought as the pesky bugs crawling and flying around, are extremely important to the ecosystem and life on earth. 1/3 of all the food we eat was produced because of pollinators1. If you take that away, you are losing a vital part of not only our diets, but also the diets of all animals, omnivores as well as herbivores. Yet, these pollinators are facing numerous problems, and humans are the main factor of these problems. If these problems can’t be solved, then the world risks losing one of its vital parts of the ecosystem, and that fruit that you ate this morning might not be there in the future.

Pollinators are biotic agents that move pollen from the stamen (male part of the flower) to the pistil (female part of the flower), which causes the flower to bloom and the fruit to grow. The range of edible plants pollinators pollinate is very large, from nuts to fruits, pollinators are vital to the production of these foods2. There is also a wide range for the animals that are pollinators. Beetles, butterflies, bees, and even wind and water. But the most effective pollinators are bees, which are undoubtedly the most important pollinator. From solitary bees to hive living European honeybees, bees live almost everywhere, and there are a lot of them, but far less recently then there should be. Honeybees travel from flower to flower collecting nectar (which is later turned into honey), and pollen grains to feed their queen and young, as well as themselves. When they do this, some of the pollen grains are transferred from the bee to a different flower than the one they collected the pollen from, which pollinates that flower. Because many bees travel between flowers, hundreds of flowers are pollinated wherever bees go. For these reasons, bees are leased and used by many farm owners to pollinate their crops. Even when you don’t have a hive near flowers, doesn’t mean bees won’t go and pollinate those flowers. They work tirelessly, sometimes traveling up to 5 miles to find food for their hive3.

Given how helpful these pollinators are, you would think we’d try our best to keep them safe and in abundance so we can continue to enjoy their amazing work? No. While we’re trying to rid our farms and gardens of insects like termites and other pests by spraying pesticides, we’re not just killing our intended target, but everything in the area we’re spraying the pesticides. Pesticides are designed to kill and eliminate anything that we don’t want, but even with our advanced technology, we can’t control what dies from the result. All pesticides are dangerous, but especially neonicotinoids are worse for bees. Neonicotinoids are insecticides that are derived from nicotine, which as many people know, is used in cigarettes, and is highly toxic to insects, as well as being toxic to mammals too. Neonicotinoids include the insecticides imidacloprid and dinotefuran, which are two of the often used and are very toxic insecticides. So toxic, that the European Union banned the use of them in Europe. Neonicotinoids have been found to increase a disease that happens to bees called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)4. CCD has killed millions of bee hives, and we can’t figure out how to reverse it. Instead of trying to fix the problem, we’ve just added to it. As many as 10 million dead bee colonies and 400 billion bees have been killed as a result of pesticides5.

Even here in Oregon, we’re contributing to these problems. Last summer, an estimated 50,000 bumblebees died in a Wilsonville parking lot because of an incorrect application of insecticides6. Bee populations have been nose-diving in the recent years, to the point where some species have become extinct, and other species may become extinct in the near future.

But many people have been taking action, trying to fix this problem we’ve created. The Oregon Department of Agriculture has passed bills requiring labels on insecticides that contain imidacloprid and dinotefuran, and have been trying to spread awareness about this problem7. Many other organizations, such as the Xerces Society8, have been taking action and providing information and help to get people involved and engaged in helping our pollinators.

I’m a 14 year old 8th grader at Rachel Carson School of Environmental Science, and 8th graders at my school are a lot different than 8th graders elsewhere. We design our own unique community service project to help out our communities, from restoring native areas to helping fight hunger. My community service project focuses on strengthening bee habitats in my community. As I’ve said, bees play an extremely vital role in our lives’ as well as the life of almost everything in the world. I’m helping our pollinators by constructing nesting sites for bumblebees and mason bees, planting native plants that pollinators are attracted to, and spreading the importance of pollinators, the situation they are in, and how people can help. My research and work has shown me the importance of everything in a system, and how if parts of a system start to fail, so does the whole system. My work has also showed me how the fate of the future of not only our lives, but the lives of everyone on the planet lies in our hands. We have become so powerful that we have created our own world in which everything we do has both a positive and negative impact on something else. By creating better transportation, we can now reach almost anywhere we want in a very short amount of time, but this transportation negatively impacts a number of things, including our environment. By spraying our crops with pesticides to kill pests, we enhance the appearance of our crops and the quality of our crops, but we also harm beneficial insects by doing so. What this means is that we have to be careful with the power that we possess, and work to strengthen the beneficial things in our world, and work for a better future. There have always been people doing this, and that’s why the world progresses forward.

And you can help too. By taking three simple steps, we can all help to reverse these problems plaguing our pollinators. Avoid using pesticides, create pollinator friendly areas with habitats and plants for bees to pollinate, and raise awareness on this problem. Tell your friends family, and neighbors, because if we all take action, we can help create a strong ecosystem for our pollinators, and a strong future for all.

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Footnote

1http://www.xerces.org/

2Attracting Native Pollinators Xerces Society Book

3 Attracting Native Pollinators Xerces Society Book

4http://www.xerces.org/neonicotinoids-and-bees/

5http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?282009-Just-how-many-american-bee-colonies-have-been-killed-by-neonics/page2

6http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/12/mass_bee_die-offs_in_wilsonvil.html#incart_river_default

7http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/Pages/news/131219bees_pesticides.aspx

8http://www.xerces.org/

Other sources

http://www.radiationtalk.com/info/cell-phones-kill-bees.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colony_collapse_disorder

http://www.xerces.org/neonicotinoids-and-bees/

 

 

Predaceous Diving Beetles- Ahoy!

Green Team Week April 7th to April 11th

Written by Jesuit Volunteers Dane Breslin and Rebecca Strohm

West Linn High School @ Clackamas-Willamette Confluence April 8, 9 & 10th

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West Linn High School students visited the Clackamas-Willamette Confluence this week to do a few different restoration activites.  First students planted did a little native planting to provide food and habitat for native animals and help prevent erosion Having planted before, students were experts and planted 140 trees and shrubs.  Also on the agenda was bioengineering.  Students installed live dogwood stakes into the wetter areas of the Confluence site.  Dogwoods having a specific hormone that allows them to take root and grow into a new tree after being staked into the ground.  Students installed 150 dogwood stakes that will grow into beautiful dogwood trees.  Students also spread 14 bales of straw around the exposed bare ground.  Removing invasive blackberry and ivy in the beginning of the year left the ground exposed except for the native plants.  The straw will help the soil retain moisture during the hot summer months and help in preventing the soil from eroding.  Students also found a few long-toed salamander and a variety of birds on site including an osprey and red-tailed hawk.  Thanks for the hard-work and dedication West Linn!  See you next time!

Gladstone High School @ Clackamas-Willamette Confluence April 10th

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Gladstone High School made a trip out to the Clackamas-Willamette Confluence this week.  It was invasive removal day and first up was a little round of riparian metaphors.  Students related regular household items to ways in which riparian areas benefit the environment.  For instance an ice cube tray could represent cold water.  Large trees along a stream bank provide shad over the creek which can assist in cooling the water, allowing more dissolved oxygen for aquatic organisms.  A coffee filter could represent native plants which assist in filtering run-off that is flowing into streams.  After riparian metaphors students got to work removing invasive species.  This particular site is home to many invasives including Armenian blackberry, English Ivy, holly, clematis and morning glory.  Students dug and pulled these invasive species, removing about 50 sq feet.  Thanks for bringing the sunshine and enthusiasm Gladstone students!

WEST SIDE

Wednesday, April 9th

Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School at Willow Creek

This Wednesday was particularly sunny down at Willow Creek and Rachel Carson Middle School visited the old site for macro invertebrate surveys, coffee bagging and site tours. We also had some special guests with us from SOLVE, and the Rachel Carson students did a phenomenal job of explaining what we were doing and made everyone feel welcomed.

Here is a run-down of the day:

First, we did macro invertebrate surveys, which were especially exciting as we found huge predaceous diving beetles, a plethora of damsel fly larvae, and four large dragonfly larvae.  As always, a few students “accidentally” fell into the creek while collecting macros with long nets.  Overall, the surveys were a success and Willow Creek is teeming with life!  Students then coffee bagged native plants to give them a better chance of survival midst the sea of invasive, fast growing, Reed Canary Grass. The coffee bags are placed on both sides of the native plant and held firmly into the ground with biodegradable stakes.  The bags themselves are generously donated by Boyd’s coffee and naturally break down over time, while also preventing Reed Canary Grass from growing too close to the native plant.  To wrap up the day, each Rachel Carson group went on a site tour and got to look at pictures of the site from nine years ago!  The change has been amazing!

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Thank you Rachel Carson, it has been so awesome working with you this year!

Dane Breslin

 

 

Dogwood or Ninebark? Snowberry or Cedar? Which native plant did you plant this week?

Green Team Week November 18th to November 25th

Written by Jesuit Volunteers Dane Breslin and Becca Strohm

East Side Sites

Spring Mountain Elementary @ Mt. Scott Creek November 19th

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Spring Mountain Elementary students made a visit to Mt. Scoot Creek to do some  native planting this week.  Having removed invasive plants last month there was plenty of room to put in some lovely natives. Before planting we learned some plant I.D skills to be able to tell our different natives apart.  We looked at our plants to see if they were opposite, alternate or whorled, had simple or compound leaves and if the plant had a different leaf shape.  Some plants we learned were snowberry, ninebark, western red cedar and rose.  Students then went to work planting 65 native plants!  Great job Spring Mountain Green Team- we’ll see you next month at Mt. Scott Creek!

Portland Lutheran School @ Sandy River for Salmon Toss November 20th

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Portland Lutheran students traveled far upstream on the Sandy River to Lost Creek Campground to participate in a salmon toss.  Jeff Fulop from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Corinne Handelman from the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council came out with the salmon for students to toss into the Sandy.  Students also participated in a salmon dissection to learn the parts of a salmon and their functions.  Despite the bitter cold students about 350 salmon into the river!  After a warm-up in the car, students visited Oxbow Park.  Representatives from the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council and Portland Water Bureau gave tours of a large wood project and a conserved flood plain.  Thanks for all the hard work Portland Lutheran!  We’ll see you next month back at Beaver Creek.

Rex Putnam High School @ Boardman Wetland November 21st

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Rex Putnam students visited Boardman Wetlands on a blistery Thursday morning to do some native plantings.  Students learned some plant I.D skills to be able to recognize our native plants.  Students planted twinberry, ash, spirea and rose.  Planting in a wetland uses a slightly different technique than our normal way of planting.  Instead of digging a hole students had to create a little slit in the ground and place the plant inside.  Then they used their shovel to close up the slit, kind of like a zipper.  Overall students planted 67 plants!  Great job Rex Putnam- we’ll see you in December!

WEST SIDE SITES

Tuesday 11/19- Valley Catholic Middle School at Johnson Creek

Tuesday, Valley Catholic Middle School cleared around five hundred feet of blackberry at Johnson Creek.  Valley Catholic High School had cut the area free, but the vicious blackberry roots had to be painstakingly dug up.  It was a great and MUDDY adventure, and now the area is finally prepared for native planting!

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Wednesday 11/20- Rachel Carson Middle School at Willow Creek

Wednesday, Rachel Carson Middle School learned plant identification, planted fifty native plants and removed around three hundred feet of invasive Armenian Blackberry.  Additionally, teachers on site worked with students to measure native plant growth.  I was thoroughly impressed with this groups plant identification skills and their ability to memorize our native opposite leaved plants- S.A.M & T.E.D.

S- Snowberry

A-Ash (Oregon Ash)

M-Maple (Vine, Big Leaf Maple)

&

T- Twinberry

E- Elderberry (Red, Blue Elderberry)

D-Dogwood (Red Osier Dogwood)

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Thursday 11/21- Valley Catholic High School at Johnson Creek

This Thursday, Valley Catholic High School seniors planted forty five native plants at the same site Valley Catholic Middle School cleared earlier in the week.  We were all amazed at the transformation of the site, as what was once a blackberry monoculture started to resemble a healthy forest ecosystem!  More planting and continued maintenance will be required to see this transformation reach fruition.

Great Job Valley Catholic!

Friday 11/22- Tobias Elementary School at Beaverton Creek Tributary

This Friday, Green Team visited Tobias Elementary School to learn plant identification and to plant native. However, when we arrived all the plants were frozen in their buckets!!  Luckily, we were able to bring a wheelbarrow of native plants into the school and teach plant I.D. right in the classroom.  After the temperature warmed up a bit we did head outside and thawed our sapling with warm water before placing them in the ground. To teach us all how to plant, we were lucky enough to have Margaret from Clean Water Services come as a special guest!  Overall, we were able to plant one hundred and fifty native plants!

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Amazing job to all of my classes this week! Thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Dane

Something smells a little fishy… Green Team November 4th-9th

Green Team Week November 4th-9th

Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteers Dane Breslin and Becca Strohm

East Side Sites

Sabin Schellenberg Forestry School @ Rock Creek Troge 2- Nov. 4th

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Forestry students broke ground on a new site next to Rock Creek removing invasive blackberry.  With the blackberry above their heads and seen far into the distance it is a good thing students brought chain saws and weed-wackers.  Blackberry was chopped down fast, students cleared over 2000 sq feet of blackberry!  Great Job Sabin students!

Sam Barlow High School @ Beaver Creek Headwaters Nov 4th and 5th

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Sam Barlow students came out for the first time to begin work at Beaver Creek Headwaters.  Before going out each class had surveyed a specific area for plant populations and will continue to survey as our restoration efforts begin.  Since it was the first day ever at the site there was a lot of work to do!  Students came out for three days to remove blackberry and despite the rain students worked hard and removed a ton of canes and blackberry roots!  Great job Sam Barlow!

West Linn High School @ Clackamas Confluence Nov. 5th, 6th and 7th

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West Linn students came out for the second time to do some invasive removal beside the Clackamas Confluence.  Having already removed a ton of blackberry, students began working up a slope and with the rain got VERY MUDDY!  While digging up roots, students uncovered a lot of litter- over 200 lbs!  With majority of the blackberry removed students will be able to plant native plants on site on their next outing!  Excellent work West Linn- we’ll see you next time on the Clackamas!

Clackamas High School @ Rock Creek Troge 2- November 7th

One of Mr. Gwin’s classes made their first trip to Rock Creek to break ground on the brand new site Rock Creek Troge 2.  The site is full of invasive blackberry bushes and the banks of the stream are so eroded it almost looks like a canal!  Students began work removing the blackberry clearing about 250 sq feet of blackberry.  Next month students will be able to plant native species in the area once all the blackberry is removed.  Great Job Clackamas students!

Clackamas High School @ Clear Creek in Estacada- November 8th

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Students in AP Biology made a trek to Clear Creek in Estacada to participate in a salmon toss.  Students suited up by putting on plastic trash bags and gloves and got to work.  Students threw about 300 Coho salmon into Clear Creek in order to restore the nutrients lost because salmon are not making it as far upstream as they traditionally have.  Students also performed a salmon dissection to learn the parts of a fish,  They removed internal organs to make Mr. Fish E. Guts and learn what all the organs look like and their function.  With the bitter cold and rain students got to enjoy a nice fire which also served to bake and smoke salmon that everyone got to try.  Great job Clackamas students!

Salmon Toss @ Clackamas River in Estacada- Sat. November 9th

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A few West Linn and Rex Putnam students participated in a salmon toss along the Clackamas River early Saturday morning.  They were joined by a few Jesuit Volunteer Corp members who came out to join in on the fun.  Despite the early departure time, students enthusiastically threw about 200 Coho salmon into the river to restore nutrients to river and provide food for the 137 species who feed on salmon.  Thanks for all you work West Linn and Putnam students!  I hope you can get the smell of salmon off!

WEST SIDE SITES 

Glencoe High School

Monday & Tuesday~11/4-11/5

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This week Glencoe High School students planted 150 native plants with Green Team! These native plants include Nine Bark, Red Flowering Currant, Red Elderberry, Sword Fern, Red Osier Dogwood and the Cascara tree.  Each class started the event by practicing their plant identification skills.

1) Is the plant alternate or opposite?

2) Are the leaves palmate or pinnate?

3) Are the leaves simple or compound?

4) What else do we see? (berries, color of bark, flowers, lenticels, lobed leaves, etc.)

We also experimented with a native grass called Scirpus Microcarpus or ‘pinnacled bulrush’. First, an adventurous group of students removed a large patch of invasive Reed Canary Grass.  Then, the native rushes were planted densely into the open area in hopes of gaining a foothold and competing with the Reed Canary.  Lastly, the students had to clean up after becoming extraordinarily muddy!

Glencoe 9th grade students planted native plants in several locations and did an amazing job!

Thank you Glencoe High School!

Rachel Carson Middle School at Willow Creek

The New Planting Site

Wednesday 10/6 

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This week, Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School 7th and 8th grade students visited Willow Creek with Green Team. The classes started by breaking into three different groups; invasive blackberry removal, plant identification and plant density estimation.  Thus far, the group has hacked away a huge amount of blackberry and the fence is even more visible than before. Additionally, we started planting in a new area that used to be completely covered with blackberry. This proved challenging as before native plants could be put into the soil blackberry roots had to be removed!  However, Rachel Carson students were up to the challenge and worked hard the whole day.

Thank you Rachel Carson Middle School!

City View Charter at Council Creek

Thursday 11/7

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This week City View Charter visited Council Creek. The class split into two groups. One group learned plant identification with Nicole, while the other group planted native plants. Overall, we planted over 60 native plants!  These plants include Pacific and Sitka Willows, Douglas Spirea, native grasses, Nine Bark and Oregon Ash.  As a group we experimented with different ways to open the soil and make space for the native plants to grow. Initially, the day was quite bleak and rainy, but by the end the beautiful Sun had come out and everyone was in the mood for more restoration!

Thank you City View Charter!

The Madeleine School at Baltimore woods

Friday 11/9

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This Friday, the Madeleine School planted about 40 native plants!  Before they could plant they removed invasive blackberry, Morning Glory, Deadly Purple Night Shade and Teasel.  Before we began planting, they learned plant I.D. and went on a nature walk through a previous parking lot that is being converted to Oak Savannah Habitat. Overall, it was quite an exciting day and I am appreciative of all of the Madeleine Schools energy!

Thank you Madeleine School!

Thus ends a great week for Green Team.  Thanks for all who participated!

An Amazing Week in October with Green Team! 10/26-11-1

Monday- 10/26- Deer Park Academy at Willow Creek

Deer Park Academy came to a new area of Willow creek, ready to learn more about what lives in our streams.  We conducted a macro invertebrate survey to assess the insect population at our new site, searching under rocks and in riffles.  For the most part, only worms and scuds were found.  Once we begin to re-vegetate the area,hopefully, things will change!

Once we checked out the stream we got to work removing invasive blackberry from the riparian area.  The students lopped a clear path to the creek! Thanks for all of your awesome work!

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Tuesday-10/27- Tobias Elementary at Beaverton Creek Tributary

This Tuesday at a Beaverton Creek Tributary three classes of Tobias Elementary fifth and sixth grade students played the Riparian Metaphor Game and removed harmful invasive species.  I was truly impressed with each class’s ability to recall information and concepts discussed in the previous week’s presentation.

After the game, the students each claimed a tool and worked hard to remove a pile of invasive Himalayan Blackberry which had taken over smaller trees.  They also released some young willows from the clutches of the ominous Morning Glory and the unyielding Reed Canary Grass (which has millions of seeds which are viable in the soil for up to forty years)!  The classes also did a wonderful job of being respectful and moving through the hallways quietly- it was a great day!

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Wednesday-10/28-Rachel Carson Middle School at Willow Creek

Rachel Carson Middle School students removed invasive Himalayan Blackberry, performed water quality tests and reviewed key restoration concepts at Willow Creek this Wednesday.

Due to the students’ valiant efforts, what was once a monoculture of blackberry is quickly transforming into a healthy forest.  A group of students commented that they did not even know there was a fence behind the blackberry bushes!

The students also worked with their teachers to test for dissolved oxygen levels, Ph, and Turbidity. Then, the water quality tests were tied into the Riparian Metaphor Game as a review of the different aspects of a healthy stream. It was hypothesized that as native plants continue to grow and hold onto the soil, turbidity levels will decrease and dissolved oxygen levels will increase as shade lowers the water temperature.

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Finally, Eight graders gave a history of Willow Creek to the incoming seventh graders and explained how “once upon a time” there had only been blackberry, but now, there was a biologically diverse, natural area growing!

Amazing Job Rachel Carson Students!

-Dane Breslin

JVC Northwest 2013-2014

Americorps 2013-2014

Thank You Green Team!

Written by DukeEngage volunteers, Julie Rohde and Mathias Skadow

Our past 8 weeks volunteering at SOLVE have left us with many memories. The students and volunteers we worked with were passionate about the environment and eager to help out. Thanks to Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School, Clackamas High School Key Club, Parrott Creek Ranch, and L.A.S.T. Youth Group for always putting smiles on our faces. Without their dedication and hard work, many of our riparian sites would not survive. We appreciate the efforts each of the students put into weeding, mulching, watering, and caging.

Also thank you to Meghan Ballard, Steve Kennett and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. members, Nicole and Lauren. They taught us all we needed to know about the native plant species in Oregon and why stream restoration is a vital part of keeping our environment healthy. Although our work with SOLVE is done, we will share what we have learned with members of our hometown communities and the Duke student body. Hopefully we can spread more awareness about watershed health so that we can make the world a better place.

Nicole Poletto, Mathias Skadow, Julie Rohde, and Lauren McKenna

Nicole Poletto, Mathias Skadow, Julie Rohde, and Lauren McKenna