Hey this is Deer Creek! And you’ve been pulling blackberry!

Pull-Prep-Plant-Proper Care-Prosper

The story of our Riparian Area

Teamwork is essential for removing invasive species in the riparian area.
Teamwork is essential for removing invasive species in the riparian area.

Once upon a time in the riparian area at Deer Creek, there lived a high diversity of native plants. It was a happy ecosystem, with each different type of plant providing food and habitat for many different creatures. Until one day when an invader arrived — the Himalayan blackberry! The blackberry sharpened its thorns and spread its sprawling vines and elbowed the native plants out of the way growing all over the riparian area.  The riparian area was very sad.

Luckily, many groups of students from Talent and Grants Pass came to the riparian area and they had an idea –“we’ll pull out those mean invasive plants with our loppers, shovels, restoration attitude and a whole lot of love!” And so they went to work. As the weeks went by the number of invasive blackberries dwindled until there was only a large bare patch of sandy soil. Afterwards, a new group of students arrived in the riparian area and they started to plant native plants. They planted douglas spiria, snowberry and Oregon grape. They fed their plants many nutrients from the compost, watered their plants, and gave them names, love, and a little carbon dioxide. Soon, with time and more care, our native plants will prosper and the riparian area will be a diverse ecosystem once more!

Thank you to all the students who helped with our Service Learning project!

We’ll post another update in a couple months and let you know how our riparian area is doing!

Week 3

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Pull-Prep-PlantProper Care-Prosper

It’s our final week of Fall in the Field at Deer Creek which means planting time for our service learning restoration project in the riparian area! Thank you to all the students from Ms. Ross’ class for all the love and care you put into planting your native plants!

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Week 2

Hillary, Amy and students use a felt board to demonstrate the restoration process of the riparian zone at Deer Creek.

Mr. Westergaard’s  class really had attitude on Tuesday. They had so much attitude that they used their offensive strategies: shoveling, pulling and lopping, to fight against the invasive blackberry’s defensive and offensive adaptations. Even though the blackberry cane had thorns and burly roots, it was no match for Mr. Westergaard’s 4th grade class. Every color group did an amazing job of digging up roots. However the biggest and burliest root was dug up by the Red-tailed Hawks. Everyone worked together to create a healthier riparian area by removing invasive plants to make room for the native plants. Thanks everyone for your hard work and putting so much love into the ecosystem!

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Ms. Sheehan’s 5th grade class from Fruitdale Elementary helped restore the riparian area at Deer Creek Center by cutting back and digging up Himalayan blackberries and other invasive plants on a sunny fall day this week.  All the students and chaperones worked hard, and the Blue Group (known as the Blue-Bellied Lizards) won the Biggest Root competition.  Ms. Sheehan’s class completed the invasive-removal stage of this project started a few weeks ago by other students.  The ground is now clear and ready to be planted with native plants, which will increase the biodiversity of the ecosystem.

Week 1

Our Service Learning project at Deer Creek Center has begun! Thanks to our two amazing classes from Talent Elementary for tackling one of the toughest invasive plants out there — the Himalayan blackberry. Armed with gloves, loppers, and shovels, as well as a whole lot of love and restorationist attitude, the classes got to work in the riparian area, digging up HUGE blackberry roots! Check out these photos of our students’ hard work!

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Remember to check back soon to keep up on all the progress of our Service Learning project. With your help the riparian area will become a more diverse ecosystem full of native plants!

A special note from Erika to Mr. Lynch’s class:

Blackberry roots no more!
Blackberry roots no more!

Everyone contributed to the restoration of this beautiful Riparian Area and things are really starting to clear up.  We are making room for native species!  Mr. Lynch’s students dug a man-sized hole in an attempt to get the blackberries where it hurts…them of course, not us.  So they pulled, dug and generally approached blackberries from their roots!  The prize for largest root went to the Red Robins but it was a close call.  Thanks to Mr. Lynch’s class for all your hard work!


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