“Arctic Blast!”

What a pleasant surprise to wake up to snow this morning.. though it was just a few inches, the world outside was quiet in a way that only snow can make it. Our office is closed, as all of the school districts in the area are, and so… I have some blog catch-up time!

Its been a very busy few weeks, especially since returning from retreat in WA two weekends ago. We have been working with a lot of our students on bioengineering on site; this is a method of engineering and stream restoration that utilizes all natural materials to stabilize stream banks and support stream health. We harvest several different types of willow stakes, douglas spiraea and red osier dogwood, as these are native trees that proliferate quickly. We worked with high school students yesterday to build fascine bundles, or small bunches of willow stakes wrapped with twine, to install in a severely eroding bankside. These bundles were staked into the bank using thicker willow stakes; all of these willows will grow a fantastic network of roots which will hold onto the bank and eventually grow tall enough to shade the stream and stop sediment from entering the waterway.

I’m also working on coordinating some meetings with neighbors in and around some of our sites to establish friends groups for long-term community engagement at the sites after SOLV is finished with its restoration plan. Community engagement in all respects is something that is so important for a healthy way of life for families and individuals; we’re hoping to help create several of these groups in communities where this might be lacking. We are also in the midst of planning Women in Science Day, taking place  in about two weeks, which is a day for young girls to come and meet women in the fields of science and talk to them about their careers and experiences. We will also be planting trees and doing stream restoration with them all.. stellar!  Can’t believe how quickly time is flying at SOLV.. much more to do.

Last weekend was a long one for the Hillsboro crew, as we celebrated President’s Day weekend. Well we celebrated, but not necessarily with any or for any presidents.. sorry guys. A few of us trekked to Grand Lodge last Friday for some local beers, tater tots and free music.. delish. Another McMenamin’s restaurant, Grand Lodge is a converted Masonic home that now houses restaurants, pubs, movie theaters, guest rooms and even a soaking pool. Saturday was off to Portland for the community (in our borrowed Honda Odyssey, we were all able to be in the same car for the first time ever!) for breakfast at Pine State Biscuits. It’s a must for any first time Portlander.. delicious. Just delicious. (I’ve been to both locations now, so worth it. Biscuits have never tasted so good.) We ate breakfast in Laurelhurst Park and could feel a twinge of spring in the air as the sun shone.. I am so excited and ready for the spring and some serious sun time! After an adventure and some visits to the Portland JV houses, a few of us went to Forest Park for an afternoon hike. Forest Park stretches for over 8 miles and is one of the country’s largest urban forest reserves; it covers over 5,100 acres and 70 miles of trails criss-cross it.. we only hiked 5 miles, thank you very much. We hiked up to Pittock Mansion and got a clear (!!) view of Portland, which made the muddy sneakers worth it.

As if we hadn’t already done enough in one weekend, Christie and I went back into Portland on Sunday for a bookmaking class at Collage, an arts and crafts store in NE Portland. Christie had been really interested in this kind of bookmaking called Japanese stab binding and we were able to make four little notebooks over a 2 and a half hour class.. I was most frustrated when I couldn’t thread my needle. Baby steps. It was great to get to create something and just be in an intentionally creative space; I have been on a crafty/creative kick since then, creating embroidered cards, prayer flags, etc. (Photos to come.. and maybe an Etsy account?)

Working hard with our schools this week and a short week due to the holiday was made even shorter with today’s snow day.. hurrah! No real plans yet this weekend but I’m sure I’ll find something to do… 🙂

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