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Scouts, students pitch in to plant trees along Gales Creek

Volunteers -- More planting along waterway scheduled for Saturday

It was a perfect day for planting trees, cool but not freezing, misty but not soaking, as students, scouts and parents volunteered a few hours on Saturday, Feb. 3 to help plant upland and streamside areas cleared of invasive weeds.

'It is amazing what motivated first-graders can do,' said April Olbrich, coordinator for the Tualatin Watershed Council.

In all, 38 volunteers - most of them Cub Scouts (first through third graders) and their parents-planted approximately 240 trees and shrubs in about three hours.

The planting, a part of the Lower Gales Creek Enhancement Project, occurred on a county-owned parcel known as 'Rippling Waters,' located just south of the Roderick Road Bridge over Gales Creek.

What was once a giant patch of invasive knotweed, English ivy and Himalayan blackberry is now being planted with the right mix of native plants to help provide shade, habitat and stream-bank stabilization.

Over the last three years, during a series of SOLV events, community volunteers have cleared out garbage, pulled and removed weeds and picked up debris to prepare the ground for this planting effort.

On Feb. 3, volunteers planted western red cedar, big leaf maple, vine maple, Indian plum, ocean spray and red flowering current.

The day's work was part of the Guy Miller Tree Plant, a regional winter event in which scouts plant trees through southeastern Washington and northwestern Oregon.

Upcoming plantings will include Douglas fir, red alder, more western red cedar and willow cuttings.

'We are planting about 25 percent more plants along the stream because we have some local residents [deer and beaver] who find young trees particularly tasty,' said Ric Balfour, project manager for the TRWC.

The restoration project is a partnership effort between the local community, the Tualatin River Watershed Council, Washington County, and the Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District.