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

Valley Catholic Macro Surveys & Armenian Blackberry Removal

On September 13th Valley Catholic High School sent students out to Johnson Creek to do macro-invertebrate surveys and to remove some nasty, invasive Himalayan Blackberry.Image

The macro surveys consisted of students putting on knee high waders and actually getting into Johnson Creek and scraping the bottoms and sides in search of interesting critters!  These students also took several measurements including depth and water velocity in order to have more accurate data in later sampling.  Students found a plethora of tadpoles and newts which still had their tales on them, as well as several types of fly larvae including mayflies and stoneflies.  One student got her boot stuck in the side of the creek and another pretty much took the dive and was up to her waist in Johnson Creek measuring the bottom of it!  After the collection we headed back to some outdoor tables where identification worksheets were available for students to decipher exactly what they had found.Image

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Later in the day, another class came out behind the school and removed invasive Himalayan Blackberry, also known as Armenian Blackberry.  Armenian Blackberry has a tendency to take over entire natural areas and outcompete other plants for resources.  Simply cutting them down is not enough to remove them and their ball-shaped roots must be dug up from the ground.  Before students got to work digging out blackberry roots, they played a game we call the Riparian Metaphor Game.

Students stand in a circle and draw an item from the bag- these items include a sponge, a coffee filter, an ice-cube tray and more.  Then, each student is asked to come up with a metaphor relating their item to one function of a healthy riparian area.

For example, a healthy riparian area is an ice-cube tray because it cools down water as it moves through.  Cooler water holds more dissolved oxygen which means that it is easier for fish to breathe!  A healthy riparian area has trees growing along its banks to provide shade so that the stream water is cold.

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Once the Riparian Metaphor Game was over the students worked hard at digging up Himalayan Blackberry roots!

Thank you for all of your help Valley Catholic,  you all did an amazing job!

Until next time,

Dane