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The group, comprised partly of Newberg High School students, plant at Champoeg State Heritage Area on Nov. 8

GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - Newberg High School senior Naomi Browning joined others in planting native bulbs at the Champoeg State Heritage Area on Friday.

Gathered at Champoeg State Heritage Area on Friday, a swath of Newberg High School students, volunteers and community and tribal members did their part to add trees, bulbs and plants to the area.

Many of the oak trees in the portion of the park that students worked were getting old, so 100 new ones were planted nearby.

Trees weren't the only thing that found new homes in the soil at Champoeg. More than 4,600 prairie plants were planted on Friday, too, adding to the natural splendor of the park.

In addition, the students and other volunteers planted thousands of bulbs as well. It was a perfect day for planting, too, with no rain in the forecast.

Newberg High School biology teacher Peter Siderius brought his three classes out for the day to put in some work as part on the student-led Chehalem Valley Watershed Project – a conservation and environmental restoration initiative.

John Mullen, the park ranger, was the one who originally contacted Siderius about the effort.

"They originally wanted us to come out on a Saturday with just volunteers," Siderius said. "I said I'd much rather bring all of my classes on a Friday and do a bunch of it.

"We opened it up to the community as well. We talked to the Newberg Sustainable Solutions Group, had kids present last Saturday to folks with the Yamhill Stewardship Fund in McMinnville."

Siderius noted that the 4,600 prairie plants came from Andy Neill of the Institute for Applied Ecology, who has assisted CVWP with its restoration efforts in the past. A crew of workers, volunteers, students and members of the local Grand Ronde tribe all collaborated in the effort, which didn't take long given the number of people in attendance – despite the number of plants on the docket.

The three NHS classes in attendance included Siderius's two ecology classes along with his agriculture and natural resources class. CVWP as an organization lives on and has more members than ever despite many of the founding students having graduated and moved on to other endeavors.

"CVWP wants to do restoration work," Siderius said. "When we have opportunities to work with the parks or anyone locally, we will do that.

"It's an ongoing thing and it's great education for the kids. We had professionals in restoration work talk to them at the park, we got a history of the park from one of the employees and we did some important work. I'm glad the kids get this opportunity to make a difference in this way."

School briefs

Turkey fumble on tap at high school

The Great Turkey Fumble, an annual 5K run and 1K walk, is right around the corner.

On Thanksgiving at 8:45 a.m., participants will start and finish their races at Newberg High School, competing in football-related challenges along the way if they so choose.

This family-friendly event is in its fourth year and does not require any football skill to participate. Proceeds for the race benefit Newberg FISH. For more information about registration costs or to sign up, visit www.thegreatturkeyfumble.com.

STEM program available for kids

The Chehalem Park & Recreation District has a number of STEM education programs available for students this fall and winter.

The after-school enrichment opportunity is hosted by Play-Well TEKnologies and uses Legos to teach kids about engineering.

According to promotional material provided by CPRD, the enrichment sessions apply real-world concepts in "physics, engineering and architecture through engineer-designed projects." Some projects on tap for the events include catapults, cranes, bridges and more. The sessions are at different times for different elementary schools.

For more information, visit www.cprdnewberg.org or call 503-537-2909. Registration must be done through CPRD and not through a child's school.

Drone education on tap

The Chehalem Valley Watershed Project – a student-led conservation and environmental education organization, is hosting a "drone education day" this month.

The event will teach students how to fly drones and provide scenic views of Newberg's natural beauty.

The suggested donation for attendance is $15. For more information, visit www.cvwp.org or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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