MEDFORD, Ore. -- Cascade Christian high school and middle school students spent time outside planting native plants along Bear Creek today as a part of a restoration project.
The project is a part of a partnership with Lomakatsi, a local non-profit that works to restore local ecosystems.
"Kids learn how to become stewards while they're learning about important issues relating to water quality, biology and wildlife habitat," says Lomakatsi Restoration Ecology Education Program Manager Niki Del Pizzo.
Today students planted, fertilized, and tended to native trees and shrubs. Additionally, they removed invasive plants around last year's plantings and enhanced the walking path that runs through the restoration site. Students were introduced to a variety of subjects including fish and wildlife habitat, local ecology, botany, soils and creek restoration. They also participated in a water quality testing activity, learning more about the health of this critical waterway that runs through the Rogue Valley.
Their partnership began about 8 years ago but it's been mostly high school students. This is the first year that middle school students have been a part of the project and the first year that the project has taken place on the school's property.
"I love the opportunity that we offer her the stream ecology class for a high school students now that I middle school students are right here on this campus to be able to have our kids partner with them and experience what you’re saying here today," said Devon Rickabaugh, Cascade Christian Head of Schools, "The school is right along Bear Creek, right out our back door. It's fabulous to have this opportunity, almost like a outdoor school in your backyard."
Gary Bennett, Cascade Christian High School stream ecology teacher, said that the overall goal is to keep growing, "our hopes are that we'll get this area back to ... a more natural Southern Oregon habitat."