>Amazing CK Students. Four adults had the pleasure on Saturday to watch a small, but industrious group of CK students, weed and mulch the largest, and most weed infested rain garden plot at the Illahee Preserve parking lot on Almira, as part of their Super Saturday event. Each student received a yellow Super Saturday T shirt and a luncheon in the afternoon. We were impressed with this group of students and it was heartwarming when several of them asked if they could volunteer to help in the Preserve at other events.
Parks Department Support. We want to thank Lori Raymaker of the Kitsap County Parks Department for bringing 4 wheel borrows, shovels, rakes and some snacks. We needed that equipment and it allowed the group to finished the project within the time available.
Weeding Effort. The students were serious about working and did a great job of getting all the weeds out of the plot. This plot was the one we all dreaded to work on because the weeds had really started taking over. It was also the largest plot with the greatest diversity of native plants. Aimee Weber, our volunteer botanist, had flagged the plants a week ago to make sure there would be no confusion over what was a weed and what was a native plant.
Wood Chips. One of the concerns we had was whether we would have enough wood chips for the mulching effort. Vic Ulsh has been successful in getting tree companies to deliver chips, primarily for putting on the trails, which in recent years has been done almost entirely by the East Bremerton Rotary. We need to thank Vic for letting us use the chips for the rain garden mulching and hope he is successful in getting more for the trails. As you will see from the photos, we have depleted his stock pile of chips.
Mulching. We have been asked why the mulching is so important? There are two primary reasons. The first is it keeps the weeds down, and after the effort it took to weed this plot, that is a good enough reason it itself. The second reason is the mulch helps retain the moisture in the soil, which is especially important the first couple of years as the plants get established since most of them were bare root plants and they haven’t had enough time to establish a strong and deep root system. Even at that we will probably need to water the plants if we have extended dry periods this summer.
Volunteer Hours Count for Port/DOE Grant. Because the rain garden is a Port of Illahee/DOE Native Plant Demonstration Rain Garden (with future signage being developed and a goal of encouraging all homeowners to consider rain gardens for handling the storm water from their roofs and driveways) the volunteer hours count as “in kind” contributions. For the adults the hourly rate is $15 per hour. For those under 18, the hourly rate is minimum wage, or $8.55 per hour. The monetary contribution of the Super Saturday weeding and mulching effort was $328.50. Thank you to these students and the adults!