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!

Happy Earth Day!

Spring Mountain Elementary @ Mt. Scott Creek April 22nd

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Happy Earth Day!  Spring Mountain students came out to celebrate Earth Day by looking at macroinvertebrates.  Macroinvertebrates are stream insects that are big enough to see with the naked eye and have no backbone.  They are in their immature phase in the water and eventually becoming flies.  When they are mature as flies they are crucial to the forest as the bottom of the food chain.   Spring Mountain found a ton of different macros including small minnow mayflies, blood-worms, scuds, annelids and snails.  Despite a small hail storm during our outing students were enthusiastic and did a great job identifying the macros.  Thanks Spring Mountain- we’ll see you next time!

Clackamas Middle College @ Phillips Creek April 23rd

Clackamas Middle College students celebrated Earth Day this year by making a difference in their community.  Students spent the day cleaning up litter around their school neighborhood and making it into trash art.  First students learned about litter in the environment.  The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a large collection of trash in the Pacific that has gathered due to currents.  About 80% of that trash originated on land; traveling from streets to rivers and eventually to the ocean.  Most of the trash is plastic which breaks down through photo-degradation, becoming smaller and smaller pieces.  These small pieces are a danger to wildlife that can choke on them.  Students at Clackamas Middle College collected 20 lbs of trash around CMC and created two beautiful pieces of art.  Great job CMC students!  Thanks for the creativity!

Gladstone High School @ Rinearson Creek April 24th

Gladstone High School made a trip to Rinearson Creek this week to sample macroinvertebrates.  First students learned about these tiny stream insects which are vital to the forest ecosystem.  The students learned about the different types of macroinvertebrates which include four orders; mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies and true flies.  Macros have different sensitivity to pollution and depending on which type you find can give a good indication of the health of the stream.  Stoneflies are the most sensitive to pollution so are a great indication of a healthy stream.  But in Rinearson Creek students only found mayflies and worms.  Rinearson Creek is an urban stream so the small amount of macros found is an indication it is polluted but it was also quite a rainy day so a bit hard to sample.  Great job Gladstone!

WEST SIDE

Tuesday, April 22nd

Valley Catholic Middle School at Johnson Creek

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HAPPY EARTH DAY! This Earth Day, Valley Catholic Middle School mulched over 300 native trees and shrubs at Johnson Creek. We started off the day with a small presentation that explained the history of Earth Day and briefly talked about the thousands of people around the world who were also making a difference.  Then, each student hauled a bucket mulch to the older SOLVE area where years ago Valley Catholic students planted what is now a small forest.  After mulching, each class removed invasive blackberry and Reed Canary grass around the native plants. Overall, it was a splendid day celebrating the Earth!

Thursday, April 24th

Evergreen Middle School at McKay Creek

Evergreen Middle School visited McKay Creek this Thursday for a special visit. The two classes split into three different groups and rotated through an invasive removal station, a native plant Identification and ethnobotany station, and a macro invertebrate station.  Besides a flash of stormy weather in the middle of the visit each station went rather smoothly and everyone had a grand time learning about how to better care for McKay Creek. Thank you so much for coming out Evergreen Middle School!

Friday, April 25th

Tobias Elementary at a Beaverton Creek Tributary

Becca and I sadly said goodbye to the exemplary students and Tobias Elementary school this Friday. To wrap up our time together we reviewed the watershed health basics in class and reiterated the importance of all our hard work this year. Then we hiked out to the forest behind the school so the students could see the fruits of their time on Green Team- a world in bloom!  When we got back to the class room we reflected on our time together and everyone was given a delicious Sesame donut!

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Goodbye Tobias and thank you for all the wonderful times!

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!

WEST SIDE

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!

WEST SIDE 

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!

Scavenger Hunts & The Willow Branch Parade

Green Team December 9th – 13th

East Side Sites

Clackamas High School @ Rock Creek Troge 2 December 9th

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Despite the cold, Clackamas High School students in Mr. Shroufe’s class made a trip to Rock Creek this week.  The freezing temperatures made planting impossible so instead students removed invasive blackberry.  Students worked so hard that we can finally see Rock Creek with all the blackberry bushes gone.  Great job removing over 500 sq feet of blackberry Clackmas High and thank you for your dedication in coming out for Green Team despite the temperatures.  We’ll see everyone next year!

Spring Mountain Elementary December 10th

Scavenger Hunt!

Scavenger Hunt!

Spring Mountain Elementary School’s Green Team had a fun filled outing of hunting and snowflakes this week.  Because of the weather it was a bit too cold for planting so instead students participated in a nature scavenger hunt around their school.  We found nature objects like “something frozen”, “something red”, “a bird chirping” and “an insect” (plus much more!)  After our hunt we went inside and enjoyed some hot chocolate and a craft.  After collecting sticks, pods and berries we used a glue gun to make nature snowflakes.

A beautiful snowflake!

A beautiful snowflake!

Thanks for your hard work and flexibility Spring Mountain.  We’ll see you in the new year!

WEST SIDE SITES

Wednesday 12/11

Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School at Willow Creek

This Wednesday, Rachel Carson students had a busy day at BOTH Willow Creek sites. As usual, the class split into three groups.  One group worked with Becca removing invasive Armenian Blackberry by the fence, which had been hidden behind an eight foot high wall of blackberry but is now completely visible- this is truly an incredible feat! The second group worked with the teacher on site measuring native plant density and growth.  The third group hiked into the older Willow Creek site and harvested adult Willow Tree and Red Osier Dogwood cuttings and then hauled them to the new site.  I am sure we were quite a site to see, parading to the new site with ten foot long tree branches in hand!  Once at the new site, these adult branches were cut into stakes and installed along the edge of the stream.  In the spring, these stakes will send out deep and fibrous roots which will hold onto the soil effectively reducing turbidity, and new trees will grow.  These new trees will offer shade to the creek lowering the temperature of the water, which will increase dissolved oxygen level, which is essential for healthy fish populations.

Wonderful job Rachel Carson, you never fail to impress!

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Friday 12/13

Tobias Elementary at Beaverton Creek Tributary

This Friday, Tobias Elementary visited a Beaverton Creek Tributary for a bioengineering project.  Students followed me to the site where we harvested adult Willow Trees.  Becca, Nicole and I then turned these branches into two foot long stakes which students installed into the side of the stream using rubber mallets.  We had extra time after installing the stakes, so students removed invasive blackberry using loppers and then walked back to the classroom.

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Great Job Tobias and Rachel Carson!  I am excited to see how successful our stakes grow in the spring!

Thank you for all of your help,

 

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

Spring Mountain Shows Ivy Who’s Boss

Spring Mountain Elementary School @ Mt. Scott Creek October 22nd, 2013

Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer, Becca Strohm

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Spring Mountain Elementary students made their first trip of the year to Mt. Scott Creek to do some invasive removal.  Students first learned about the healthy aspects of a stream environment and why removing the invasive species is important.  Mt. Scott Creek is mainly overrun with English Ivy which covers the under-story and also has climbed up some trees not allowing the tree to receive sunlight.  Students remembered that a healthy stream environment includes native species which help to prevent erosion, provide habitat and food for native wildlife and provide more shade than invasives like ivy.

This year students will work a little upstream of the site last year in an area that includes a small island that has become overrun with ivy.  But the ivy is no match for Spring Mountain students who got right to work ripping it out, and creating huge mounds of ivy.  This will clear the way for students to plant natives later in the year.  Students also found a few crayfish and a salamander and cleaned up litter around the creek. Great job Spring Mountain in your work towards saving Mt. Scoot Creek!  We’ll see you next time!