West Side Students Share Their Stories!

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Valley Catholic High School’s auditorium was abuzz with watershed restoration terms and techniques last week as students in Green Teams at Valley Catholic High School, Valley Catholic Middle School, Deer Park Academy, Mountain View Middle School and Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School joined together to present on their year long commitment to creeks near their schools.

Each of these groups of students came out weekly, monthly or just a few times over the year and were able to come away with some important lessons.  Over the course of the year, these students planted native trees and shrubs, removed invasive species, enhanced wildlife habitat, bioengineered stream banks, maintained and monitored native plants.  Lori Hennings, senior natural resource scientist at Metro, congratulated the students on their continued efforts and dedication to stream health.

Valley Catholic High School students presented on invasive reed canary grass and how they have begun controlling it at Johnson Creek behind their school with coffee bags and native plants.  Deer Park Academy students shared what they have learned about stream bioengineering, or using natural elements to help stabilize stream banks and provide shade; they did this by installing live willow stakes and fascine bundles in the banks of Willow Creek.  Rachel Carson Middle School students presented their research on native western pond and western painted turtles and how we must provide habitat for them to thrive.  Mountain View Middle School students shared their results from testing a Beaverton Creek tributary for macroinvertebrates and how this is a good indicator of water pollution.  Valley Catholic Middle School students shared their insight on Armenian blackberry removal methods and how important native plantings are for our environment.

Thanks to our friends from Clean Water Services, The Wetlands Conservancy, Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District, Oregon Natural Desert Association, Tualatin Riverkeepers, Friends of Beaverton Creek , Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve and the Tualatin River Watershed Council for sharing the day with us and supporting our students!

THANK YOU, TEACHERS for your support of students and the Green Team program!  THANK YOU, STUDENTS for making your communities healthier places to live, work and play!  Have a wonderful summer exploring and we’ll see you in September!

I’d like to thank the Academy…

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What a great time we had with Deer Park Academy this week!  Last week, students helped us harvest some willow from mature willow trees to stake into the ground.  This is a form of bioengineering we often use at sites to mitigate erosion and provide shade for the stream.

Two new students joined our crew this week at Willow Creek and we were able to cut longer willow stakes to install along the stream.  When we prepare stakes, it is best to cut the branch, or stake, with the buds facing up, with an angled cut at the bottom.  This allows new growth to be stimulated and it is easier to get it into the ground this way.  A fresh cut at the top of the stake will also stimulate new growth of the willow.  We cut stakes in teams, flagged the stakes so we will be able to monitor them as they shade out the reed canary grass, and installed them on the stream banks.  Thanks for making Willow Creek a better place, Deer Park!

From the Oregon Department of State Lands:

Conventionally, engineers have used only static inorganic materials that provide neither habitat for fish and wildlife, nor shade for the stream. Bioengineering techniques include effective, low cost methods for protecting and restoring riparian areas. Different species of willows and cottonwoods are used widely for bioengineering projects because they easily form roots on stem cuttings.