Invasive plants don’t stand a chance in Cascade Canyon, thanks to droves of elementary school students who have been working to restore the banks along the creek.
Kids from Marin Horizon School, Park School and most recently Old Mill School have been pulling out plants like English ivy and periwinkle, and planting native species like hazelnuts, coffeeberry, thimbleberry and rose along a 250-foot section between the stream and the road near Three Wells in Cascade Canyon.
Invasive plants often “escape from people’s yards” and restoring the natural environment goes a long way in helping to build a better habitat, said Isaiah Thalmayer, who’s managing the Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed (STRAW) project through PRBO Conservation Science.
Flowering and fruiting plants attract insects, birds and animals (foxes are particularly fond of coffeeberry) and it’s a great hands-on way to empower kids to do professional restoration work, Thalmayer said.
“It’s really teaching them about the watershed, and the relationship between animals and habitat,” he said.
There’s been a collaborative effort to make this happen, with the Mill Valley StreamKeepers funding the two-year project through a $50,000 grant from the Dennis and Carol Ann Rockey Fund of the Marin Community Foundation. The grant, received in April 2011, supports the restoration of the Coho salmon habitat, which has a good change of being reestablished in the stream, said StreamKeepers president Betsy Bikle.
On February 7 groups from Marin Horizon School and Park School began the restoration efforts, and more than 70 students from Old Mill continued the pulling and planting on Feb. 21.
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