Students digging holes

On Wednesday, November 30th, the freshman biology class was lucky enough to travel to Lazy R ranch, where we worked with STRAW (Students & Teachers Restoring a Watershed) to restore Stemple Creek. Stemple Creek was mostly dry when we were there, with few trees and eroding banks. Upon arrival, the three STRAW workers taught us how to effectively plant willow sprigs. This consisted of using a long iron tool to make a hole, putting the sprig in, and then securing it in the dirt. We split off into pairs and trios and began our work. While it was hard, time-consuming work, it was exciting to use our hands. We worked and played, between planting sprigs we broke the ice in the frozen creek and played music. In the end, we ended up planting fifty-seven willow sprigs. These sprigs, when they grow into trees, will stabilize the banks and provide shade in the creek. Shade provides a cool space for fish; cools the water, which decreases algae blooms; as well as slows down the creek flow, making it better for salmon and cleaner water. The experience we had at Lazy R was truly special. We were able to learn, have fun, and help. We are extremely grateful to STRAW, and the owners of Lazy R for letting us have this experience. It was inspiring to all of us, and we all felt satisfied to have helped with the creek restoration. And a big thank you to our amazing teacher Ms.Sherman!

Amaya Trockel (Class of 2026)