Students from Portland State University (PSU) in Dr. Jeremy Spoon's Environmental Anthropology course joined efforts with the Stream Team to help restore riparian vegetation around Salmon Creek in H.B. Fuller Park, Vancouver, Washington.
On Saturday, November 16, the Stream Team, a volunteer organization of Clark Public Utilities, hosted eighteen PSU volunteers. Volunteers included faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and their family and friends. Alongside other Stream Team volunteers, PSU students planted 313 native riparian trees alongside the Creek.
The Stream Team focuses on habitat restoration with the goal of attracting the Northwest's iconic salmon back to the creek by improving water quality and reducing erosion in riparian areas within the Salmon Creek watershed. Native plant species that thrive in wetland and riparian areas were chosen for plantings, and species included Douglas Spirea and Pacific Willow.
The organization depends on the support, cooperation, and knowledge of diverse stakeholders including private landholders, government agencies, conservation organizations, Americorps volunteers, and others. The students from PSU explored how these diverse groups construct the relationship between humans and nature as represented by the Salmon Creek watershed and in turn how the values and beliefs regarding this relationship impact the Stream Team’s restoration activities. Armed with gloves, shovels, and saplings, students also explored their own ideasabout people and nature. One student, toting dogwood saplings commented, “I am carrying my own wilderness.” An apt statement related to our classroom studies of the social constructions of nature.