David Douglas High School class honored at Johnson Creek’s keepers luncheon

Have salmon really been seen spawning in Crystal Springs? Yes, thanks to Johnson Creek Watershed Council’s minion of dedicated volunteers. Check it out, and see who the council is thanking‚

David Douglas High School teacher Stacey Barber and student Amanda Krekow pick up the JCWC Youth Group award for “adopting” a park along the creek.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Ten years ago, much of Johnson Creek was little more than a sludge-filled, weed-choked, 26-mile-long drainage ditch running from Gresham to Milwaukie, where it dumped into the Willamette River.

But, thanks to the dedication of the hundreds of Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) volunteers, this waterway is one of the last free-flowing streams in Portland, supporting several salmon species as well as an incredible variety of wildlife.

The JCWC’s annual meeting luncheon was held at Reed College this year on May 17 at 11:30am. The event showcased the organization’s successful partnerships, projects, and community investment in Johnson Creek.

The envelope, please‚
In addition to the keynote speech by Kim Stafford and presentation of the groups Annual Report, many volunteers and supporters were honored. We spoke with two of four award winners.

The Youth Group Award went to Stacey Barber’s David Douglas High School class who “adopted” the creek-side Bundy Nature Park.

“We’ve planted over 500 plants along the Springwater Corridor,” Barber told us at the event. “Part of our class requires community service work. But our students realize if we don’t protect our natural resources now, they won’t survive to be enjoyed by later generations.”

Their projected centered on the “Bundy Park” area in outer SE Portland, in the shadow of Powell Butte.

Amanda Krekow, a David Douglas junior, accepted the award with Barber. “I especially like pulling ivy. Oregon is such a beautiful place. If we don’t keep it green and clean, no one else will be able enjoy it. I want to keep being able to walk in nature.”

Sharon and Gary Klein accept the JCWC Individual Award from the organization’s executive director, Michelle Bussard.

The Individual Award was presented to Gary and Sharon Klein. “For the last five years, I’ve been their ‘tool guy’,” Gary explained. “I keep the tools in order, fixing broken tools, cleaning gloves and buying manual labor tools when they need them. If Johnson Creek doesn’t survive, and eventually thrive, it is bad for all of us. It is kind of an ‘ecological pulse’ of or area.”

The council’s accomplishments
Michelle Bussard, executive director of JCWC shared some of her organization’s many accomplishments with us as she helped prepare for their annual event in Kuhl Auditorium.

“This year, we spotted spawning Coho salmon in Crystal Springs. This is really nothing short of magic,” Bussard said. “And, we’re working with more and more private property owners who are improving their creek side stream stewardship practices.”

The list of projects and accomplishments filled a booklet she showed us. “But, this is the work of a lifetime; the work of generations. We have so much more to do. Won’t you join us?”

Their summer work party is scheduled for August 18. Learn more‚ and join in, by visiting their web site at www.jcwc.org.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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