Forest Grove Community School Students Continue Creek Research

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“Team Kestrel” and teacher Charlie Graham of the Forest Grove Community School continue to be the most committed and focused of the school-based research teams working in the woods. Braving some seriously cold and wet weather, they completed their annual, 2 part, “check up” of creek health this Fall. Perhaps the best lessons learned were about how to dress for comfort and safety in “exciting” weather? A summary of their work is pasted below, more detail and photos may be found at:

and they tell us that a summary of their findings, as well as their own definitions of “sustainable forestry”, should be coming shortly. Three cheers to them for their good work!
Our Tuesday Out&About took us back up to Hyla Woods for the follow-up Leaf Pack analysis. Three week prior we placed packs of leaves into Lousignaunt Creek to help monitor the overall water quality. This week we pulled the packs to see what macroinvertebrates had taken up residence there.

The day was cold and wet, with rain pretty much constantly coming down. This really tested our level of weather preparedness, which most of us decided could (and should) have been better. We found that the creek had risen substantially, but all of our Leaf Pack were found intact. Peter Hayes (Hyla’s owner) kindly cleared out a shed area for us to work in, to keep us out of the rain. By then, many of us had already gotten wet, making it difficult to get warmed up.

The Leaf Packs were filled with a rich diversity of macroinvertebrates. This is a great sign that the overall stream water quality is good. These were carefully sorted, identified, and recorded for further analysis back in the classroom. We will complete this analysis work this week, so check back to see what our results were.

Peter also helped us answer some other questions were have been pursuing. One was the debate over the presents of ‘Big Leaf Maple’, which we have left out of our packs because of their absents near the creek. It turns out that they do exist up in the hillsides. We now need to revisit just what should make up the composition of our leaf packs. Since our visit last week to the Stimson Lumber Mill last week, a guiding question has been , what is ‘sustainable forestry’? The people at Stimson used the word ‘sustainable’ many time in there presentation, but there land is so difference in appearance from Hyla Woods. Peter’s answers were deep and thought-provoking, as he explained the philosophy that drives his land management. In a nut shell, his idea is that management practice must benefit both the land (environment) and people, as well as leave both healthy and functioning for the future. Each student has been given the challenge of coming up with their own definition of ‘sustainable forestry’. We concluded this Hyla Woods visit with the singing of Peter’s song “Tracks Left Behind”, which was written about our class’ work at Hyla a few years ago