In September of 2013, we welcomed our first group of students from Soundview International Baccalaureate. This year, 5th graders from that group are in 8th grade and recently visited us for their last school visit. It's been wonderful watching them grow, as they in turn watch the plants they've nurtured grow. Our relationship with this school is unique in that the students are able to come back once a month for at least a school year, this allows them to experience long lasting relationships with the space they've helped to restore. We were recently gifted with student authored essays written in reflection of their times with us. Please take a moment to read Derek's thoughts on his service learning experience:
We are excited to once again have students from the Soundview School visit monthly to help take care of North Creek Forest. This month, the entire 8th grade came out to explore the forest and help keep invasive blackberry and bindweed at bay. Education Committee member, Emily Sunblade took students on an un-nature hike to hone their observation skills and explore deeper into the forest. Thank you Soundview! We always appreciate your hard work and enthusiasm!
Our Soundview IB School volunteers have spent the fall exploring, learning, and helping in North Creek Forest. Students have learned about water quality and how to identify native trees. They have learned from experience about invasive weed removal, and how to give native plantings the best chance of success. They have also learned about the peace and inspiration that comes from sitting quietly in the forest. A gift that North Creek Forest will soon provide for our whole community for generations to come.
If you have been following along you probably know a $500,000 King County Conservation Futures (KCCF) grant was awarded over a year ago to help save remaining forest land in North Creek Forest. Within the last week KCCF reallocated additional funds of $181,000 and $303,000. This brings the total commitment from King County to $984,000.
All dollars from King County require a 1:1 match from another source. Toward this end the city has a Recreation and Conservation grant of $197,500 from the Land and Water fund. This enables $395,000 in purchase funds with $786,500 remaining to be matched. Our Capital Campaign to find these matching funds is about to launch.
Event 1: Tulalip Members - Marysville School District
The Tulalip Higher Education Program brought over 40 students from the Marysville School District to meet with UW Bothell Admissions department staff Rachael Meares, Admissions Advisor and Native American Outreach, to participate at a restoration site with Friends of North Creek Forest and the UWREN program.
This event was to inform high school students from the Tulalip Tribes and Marysville School District about the UWREN program.
Prior to arrival Professor Warren Gold met with past and present members of UWREN, Friends of North Creek Forest and a Bothell City Council member. We each reflected on the value of UWREN from our unique perspectives.
In the foreground former UWREN graduate and current City Council Member Andy Rheaume (left) talks about the way UWREN serves the city.
FNCF Executive Director, Jim Freese, (not shown) discussed the value of UWREN's contributions to the community.
In the far background former UWREN member and FNCF Volunteer Coordinator, Kent Parkinson, joined this years UWREN team member, Carolyn Stapp to share their personal UWREN experience.
Up next was a tour of UWREN sites finished in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. Students were able to see planting designs and get a hint of the science behind those designs. They were also able to see changes from year to year.
UWREN Site 3
Arriving at this years site we broke into 8 student teams. These teams planted about 100 Pacific Willow and Red Twig Dogwood "live stakes".
Pacific Willow (yellow bark) and Red Twig Dogwood (red bark) will grow to 50' and 15'-20' respectively.
It is not lost on some of us that up until 1855 the Sammamish People occupied this area from Kenmore to Lake Sammamish. After smallpox and a treaty halved their numbers and dislocated the rest, most Sammamish People were absorbed into the Tulalip Tribes.
We wonder if great great grandchildren of the Sammamish People were among these students, restoring native vegetation where it was once complex, rich and balanced... where Chinook salmon, once plentiful, have all but vanished.
Tulalip Higher Education and Marysville School District chaperones were pleased with the activity, “It was great to see the students learning outside of the classroom,” comments Matt Remle (Lakota), Native Liaison for the Marysville School District. UW Bothell Admissions Department’s Rachael Meares describes reaching out to community partners to collaboratively develop programs for high school student visits, “The students will remember UW Bothell because it was an experiential visit – usually, they just get flooded with PowerPoints and pamphlets at most college visits.”
We can't think of a better example of North Creek Forest serving students. It was a fulfilling day. FNCF
Event 2: Dr. Amy Lambert's Class: Beginning Restoration
This day we were short on photos but long on work.
A combination of 30+ students, UWREN members and several FNCF members can change things fast.
Spreading mulch and rooting out the last of the Himalayan blackberries, often in mud, was our chore for the day.
We logged 127.5 hours.
Thank you for coming out. Now you know about restoration at it's most difficult stage. If you return in two weeks you will be surprised at the changes. Plants are going in and mulch is going down.
Event 3: Soundview is back!
Soundview International Baccalaureate School is back. These 5th and 7th grade kids mowed down some of the last remaining blackberries on the three sites.
They are getting really good at pacing themselves. And they are very aware of safety. Our number one responsibility to not get hurt or hurt someone else.
At another station kids learned how to use a monocular magnifier.
The goal here is to learn how to identify trees by their buds.
This is the beginning. Kids soon discovered they could place the magnifier up to their eye and hold it in place by squinting, thus freeing both hands to hold the branch steady.
With a little creativity who knows...
We might discover the world is much more interesting that we realized.
[The photographer had to try this himself after everyone left. Couldn't see much but you don't know unless you try.]
From the FNCF Ranger Team:
Thank you students for your hard work!