Submitted by Nancy E. Henderson.
Blessed with an afternoon of sunshine in the midst of a string of unusually cold and rainy days, on Friday, April 15, students from Steilacoom High School’s National Honor Society (NHS) spent several hours sprucing up a natural area on the grounds of the Steilacoom Community Center.
Because some native plants have imposters with a similar appearance, the work session began with a briefing about distinguishing native from non-native plants. Native Oregon grape can be confused with invasive English holly, trailing blackberry with Himalayan blackberry, and red huckleberry, before leafing, with scotch broom.
The students learned to identify native plants to preserve such as salal, sword fern, trailing blackberry, low bush Oregon grape, snowberry, and red huckleberry. Invasive non-native plants such as Himalayan blackberry, English holly and ivy were also pointed out.
The work then began. Divided into teams of 4-5, the students were led by Erin Anderson, current NHS advisor, and Roberta Black, a retired Steilacoom High School educator and previous NHS advisor.
Load after load of invasive plants, downed limbs, and vegetative debris were wheeled away.
The two-hour volunteer effort passed rapidly, creating more space for native plants to thrive and an improved look to the Steilaccom Community Center.
Thank you, Steilacoom High School NHS for your pride in our Town and improving the environment.