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

Spring Brings Bees and Straw

Green Team Week March 31st- April 5th

Written by Jesuit Volunteers Dane Breslin and Becca Strohm

Gladstone High School @ Clackamas-Willamette Confluence 4/1

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Students from Gladstone High School made their first trip out of the new trimester this week to the Clackamas-Willamette Confluence.  This site is brand new this year and needs lots of work.  It is home to a variety of invasive plants including Armenian blackberry, English ivy, clematis, morning glory, trees of heaven and holly.  In the future this site will become essential side channel habitat for fish and other wildlife in the Clackamas and Willamette rivers.  Since it is the very end of our planting season students started out by planting some native shrubs in an area that used to be all blackberry.  Students planted around 75 shrubs including Oregon grape, salmonberry and some snowberry.  In addition to the site being full of invasive plants it is also full of trash.  An old dumping ground, the site is full of litter including some pretty creepy, old toys.  Students collected around 20 lbs of trash which we hauled out to be disposed of properly.  Great job Gladstone students- thanks for the enthusiasm!

Clackamas High School @ Rock Creek 4/3, 4/4

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Students from Clackamas High School enjoyed a beautiful day at Rock Creek this week.  They participated in a variety of activities to help restore the area.  First off students spread 10 bales of straw around the bare ground where blackberry was removed and new native plants have been planted.  The straw is to help retain moisture so that when it rains the bare ground does not just become mud and erode into the stream.  Students also planted about 15 more native plants and coffee bagged.  Coffee bags are put around plants in grassy areas to help suppress the grass and other weeds.  The next day students mulched, removed blackberry and put up beaver caging.  Mulching also helps to suppress weeds and retain moisture around the plants.  Students mulched in a perfect doughnut shape around 100 native trees and shrubs.  In addition students removed about 30 square feet of invasive blackberry roots and protected 30 saplings with beaver caging.  Thanks for the hard work CHS students- see you next time at Rock Creek.

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Monday, March 31st

Glencoe High School at McKay Creek

This Monday I met Glencoe High School freshman not at McKay Creek, but in the classroom where we investigated and discovered a whole plethora of interesting bugs!  With turkey basters the students combed through the muddy waters (I collected) from McKay Creek that morning.  Once a critter was found it was promptly placed under the electron microscope for further investigation.  The students found some very interesting macro invertebrates this Monday including (check guide thing for names).

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Overall, it was a wonderful day by the microscopes! Thanks Glencoe!

Wednesday, April 2nd

Rachel Carson at Willow Creek

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This Wednesday Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School met at the Willow Creek old site where we went on site tours, studied macro invertebrates and installed William’s bee boxes!  Starting off the day students got a chance to see the site Rachel Carson has been stewards of for 10 year.  The next group worked with Nicole collecting macros with long nets from the stream and then siphoning them off into smaller trays for a closer look. The last group worked with me and William who is doing a project on bees.  He actually built two bee boxes himself and we spent the day planting native plants that will attract the bees.  We also traveled to the new site and worked to install the box he made into an old tree.  I look forward to William’s presentation at the West Side Summit!

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Thank you for a beautiful day Rachel Carson!

Thursday, April 3rd

City View Charter at School

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This Thursday Nicole, Becca and I visited City View Charter School toting bags of trash, cans of spray paint and minds filled with imagination- TRASH ART DAY!  Last week, we collected old plastic bottles, candy wrappers and a host of other items from Philips Creek. We cleaned the items and on Thursday students cut them into pieces and, spray painted them and then glued them together to make a beautiful dragonfly mural.  We started the event by doing our own small trash pickup at the school and discussing the problems we all face with litter in the environment. Great job City View Charter!

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Forest Park Elementary at Cedar Mill Creek

On Thursday Nicole and I met with Forest Park Elementary school students and planted all of the remaining native plants at Cedar Mill Creek- around 50 overall!  That is quite impressive given that most of the planters were less than five feet tall.  Also, one of the students worked with me and offered to do a planting demo for the Summit. He did an excellent job explaining how to safely get our beloved native plants into the ground. Thank you Forest Park!

Friday, April 4th

Valley Catholic High School at Johnson Creek

This Friday, Valley Catholic High School met at Johnson Creek and we planted 280 native plants!  The classes worked like machines expertly digging basketball sized holes, massaging roots to stimulate growth and graceful plant dancing once the holes were filled.  To celebrate our last day together we had delicious doughnuts generously donated be Sesame Donuts. The folks at Sesame even gave me a free coffee for coming in- Thank you so much!  Valley Catholic I will miss you all and thank you for being such excellent planters!

Saturday, April 5th

Forest Grove High School at Gales Creek

This Saturday Forest Grove High School met at Gales Creek and we did a plethora of activities. We started the day with coffee bagging the 70 native plants that we installed the previous visit.  The coffee bags will give our natives a head up in the continuous battle with Reed Canary Grass.  Next, we installed the remaining native grasses by the stream (which was very muddy). The hope is that these native grasses will actively complete with the Reed Canary Grass for dominance of the area.  Lastly, we got into the stream itself and collected macro invertebrates. We found the most AMAZING variety of bugs including Mayflies and a Caddis fly the size of my pinky finger!  To wrap up the day Ben Crabtree (the “best teacher ever” according to a number of students) treated us all to homemade brownies which competed with the donuts I provided.

This was our last visit and I will miss you dearly Forest Grove High school!

Best,

Dane Breslin

 

 

March- friendly worms, small storms & loads of trash!

Green Team Week March 3rd to March 7th

Written by Jesuit Volunteers Dane Breslin and Becca Strohm

Clackamas Middle College @ Phillips Creek March 7th

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Clackamas Middle College made a trip this week to Phillips Creek to do both a native planting and a litter clean-up.  Students learned the path of litter from throwing it onto the side of the road to rainwater gutters, to creeks, to rivers and eventually out to the ocean.  Plastics can be eaten by marine life including birds, fish and turtles which believe the plastic is food.  The plastic can get lodged in their digestive system or can cause the animal to believe they are full, causing them to starve due to lack of nutrients.

Look at all that trash!

Look at all that trash!

Overall students collected 400 lbs of garbage around Phillips Creek and the streets around CMC including a shopping cart and a few rugs.  In addition students planted 150 native trees and shubs around Phillips Creek.  Thanks you CMC students and I look forward to another sunny day at Philips Creek!

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Monday, March 3rd

 Valley Catholic High School at Johnson Creek

Valley Catholic High School visited Johnson Creek this Monday to do a bioengineering activity with Green Team.  The group installed 100 live dogwood stakes, 50 Sitka Willow Stakes and 50 Schooler Willow stakes behind the school. The stakes contain a rooting hormone that allows them to be propagated quite easily, and will eventually grow into adult shrubs which will hold onto the soil and prevent erosion. Although our time together was fleeting, I truly enjoyed live staking with Valley Catholic and look forward to our next event!

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Tuesday, March 4th

St. Thomas More at Cedar Mill Creek

St. Thomas More second graders visited Cedar Mill Creek and planted 60 native shrubs with Green Team this Tuesday.  The group also installed approximately 50 Willow stakes into the muddy soil at Cedar Mill.  These stakes will one day grow into adult Willows which have incredible root systems which will do an amazing job of reducing erosion by holding onto the soil!  Though the students were small, they worked quickly and efficiently in groups with a parent. Digging a basketball sized hole, massaging roots, giving the plant a “haircut”, and doing a small plant dance after leveling the area around the plant proved to be second nature to the students of St. Thomas More.  Additionally, many of the students found squirmy worm friends, but were careful to put them in safe place before continuing.  Overall, the day was quite nice and I was most impressed with everyone’s behavior. Thank you St. Thomas More, please come out with Green Team again soon!

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Wednesday, March 5th

Rachel Carson at Willow Creek

Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School came out to Willow Creek’s new site this Wednesday remove blackberry roots, plant native trees and shrubs and learn some native plant identification.  The group was very successful and planted approximately 130 native trees and shrubs on the hill by the road.  This very same hill, which is notorious for having monster blackberry roots, now has the potential to become a healthy riparian area.  The group was also quizzed on their ability to identify native plants with only buds and leave scars as hints!  Overall, everyone did an incredible job and I always enjoy working with Rachel Carson students!

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Additionally, fantastic job to all of these students at the Rachel Carson Science fair. I was very impressed!

Thursday, March 6th

City View Charter at Council Creek

City View Charter visited Council Creek this Thursday and helped Green Team maintain the numerous recently planted native, as well as planting some native themselves!  The students planted 76 native trees & shrubs, and then coffee bagged and mulched each plant.  Invasive Reed Canary Grass inundates Council Creek yearly; the coffee bags staked around each plant keep the grass from getting sunlight and give the native plant space to grow.  Mulch around the plant holds onto moisture, keeps the plant warm and also helps prevent Reed Canary Grass from growing densely next to the plant.  Overall, the group did an excellent job, even in the pouring rain! Thank you City View Charter!!

 

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Forest Park Elementary at Cedar Mill Creek

Later the same day, Forest Park Elementary visited picturesque Cedar Mill Creek with Green Team.  The elementary students had some help from parents planting around thirty native trees & shrubs.  Students had a blast getting their gloves muddy and had fun naming their different plants silly names.  The sun came out near the end of our session and we all appreciated the beams of light moving through the Alder Trees on site.  Overall, Forest Park Elementary students were very well behaved and followed direction precisely. Thank you so much!

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Best,

Dane

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 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

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)

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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

Valley Catholic Black Berry Removal

On October 1st, seven Valley Catholic High School classes worked hard at clipping away overgrown, invasive Armenian Blackberry from behind their school.  However, before we got to work in the blackberry patch each class played several rounds of the Riparian Metaphor Game under the fantastic new shelter built near Johnson Creek by an eagle scout- it serves as a perfect shelter from the rain!

Each class cleared a fairly large area of blackberry using loppers.  It was essential that the students leave part of the blackberry stem visible above ground so that other classes can come into the area in the near future and actually dig up the roots.  If the large root structures are not removed then the blackberry will come back again.  Once the blackberry was clipped, students with rakes collected piles of the cuts and consolidated them into one pile.  By the end of the day we had cleared so much dense blackberry that we had a massive pile of clippings and cleared land with blackberry roots primed for being removed!

I was personally amazed at how hard everyone worked through shifting weather events that ranged from torrential rain to warm sunshine.  Valley Catholic biology and environmental students, you all did an amazing job and the results look incredible. After digging up the blackberry roots we will plant more native plants to prevent erosion and hold down the soil with deep, fibrous roots.

Keep up the great work!

Dane