Students take on environmental restoration project at state park in West Linn

COURTESY PHOTO: GLADSTONE SCHOOL DISTRICT - Kaleah Botteron pulls English ivy, an invasive species that can damage native trees.Fourth graders from John Wetten Elementary learned about environmental sciences thanks to the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership. Teacher Cathy Mitchell has partnered with LCREP for over 12 years.

Before the field trip, LCREP provided two hands-on learning opportunities at school, preparing students to apply their learning in the field.COURTESY PHOTO: GLADSTONE SCHOOL DISTRICT - Gladstone fourth grader Amoura Schulkers worked with classmates to remove invasive plant species at Mary S. Young State Park.

"Conservation, restoration and service projects like this connect our kids to the local natural environment, allowing many of them to interact with nature in a manner they never experienced before," Mitchell said. "This results in a giant boost in confidence, a sense of accomplishment and pride for having served in a meaningful way."COURTESY PHOTO: GLADSTONE SCHOOL DISTRICT - Ela Villegas learned a lot about bugs thanks to a scavenger hunt in the forest.COURTESY PHOTO: GLADSTONE SCHOOL DISTRICT - Henry Hunt participated in a scavenger hunt that helped children identify native and invasive plants.

This year students learned about the native and invasive plants of Oregon. On May 23, they traveled to West Linn's Mary S. Young State Park to conduct an environmental restoration project, removing invasive plants to improve the environment for local habitat and wildlife.

"I liked our field trip because I got to learn about invasive species like English Ivy, which can kill trees because it becomes so heavy," said student Reggie Bauer. His classmate Henry Hunt said ripping up the English ivy was like playing tug-o-war.

Identification of aquatic insects was also part of the experience. "I loved our scavenger hunt to find bugs and plants," Ela Villegas said. "I learned that some bugs are nice and that I can touch them."

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