Typically wildlife uses 98 percent of native plants, compared to 2 percent for non-native plants.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: CLACKAMAS RIVER BASIN COUNCIL - Estacada residents work together during a previous Clackamas River Basin Council planting event in Estacada. The group will host another work party next month.

If you've ever wanted to get your hands dirty with plants that will benefit the community, now's your chance.

Those interested are invited to attend Clackamas River Basin Council's planting work party from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Estacada Public Library, 825 N.W. Wade St. The group hopes to have about 50 participants at the event. Planting tools and refreshments will be provided.

The work party will focus on Wade Creek Pond, located near the Estacada library. Among the species to be planted are spirea, red-flowering currant, dogwood, willow, twinberry and elderberry — all of which are native to Oregon.

Native plants, or plants that are indigenous to an area, are valuable to their corresponding environments in many ways. For example, typically wildlife uses 98 percent of native plants, compared to 2 percent for non-native plants.

"Native wildlife has grown up with native plants," explained Suzi Cloutier, outreach and stewardship specialist for the Clackamas River Basin Council.

Additionally, native plants are more adapted to their native environments. In Oregon, this means the plants are able to withstand blustery winters and warm summers.

Cloutier noted that the additional plants will be a valuable asset to Wade Creek Pond.

"Wade Creek is pretty unshaded. There's not a lot of cooling," she said. "We'll plant native trees and shrubs to help cool the water, since salmon and trout rely on nice, cool water."

Both Cloutier and Clackamas River Basin Council Communication and Program Specialist Christine Johnson hope to see participants of all ages at the planting event.

"I love exploring nature with kids," Johnson said. "I love it when kids come out."

Cloutier added that she hopes to see "the whole neighborhood engaged in their pond and their library."

"(It's an opportunity to) instill education about what's important for the creek and pond," she said. "They can get a little education, mud and invest in the future."

After the planting event, Clackamas River Basin Council will return to Estacada on Earth Day, April 21, for a mulching work party at the library.

"We'll get the plants tucked in and ready for summer," Johnson said. "(The mulch) really helps keep the moisture in the soil."

Johnson and Cloutier are looking forward to the events in Estacada.

"It's going to be a fun year," Johnson said.

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