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Mar 13, 2020

AmeriCorps NCCC Is Finishing Up Their Time With JCWC

By: Alyssa Westphall, NCCC Member, Media Representative

Gold 4 is very sad to be leaving. Alyssa (Media Representative) said that she will miss the coffee and the welcoming community of Portland the most. When Gold 4 leaves on March 18th, they are scheduled to stay in Eugene, Oregon for 3 weeks working with their parks and recreation organization; and then for the 2 weeks after that, they will be going back to their home-base in Sacramento, California for 2 weeks. After that, they don’t know where they’re gonna be!

Crew hard at work entering data in the office on one of their few rare office days out of the field.

Gold 4 Americorps NCCC Team planted thousands of native species and removed invasives by hand throughout the watershed. They also spent time assisting during volunteer events and doing office administrative tasks. Without this teams hard work we would not be able to get all the tasks done at the Watershed Council, a huge thank you goes out them.

From left>right: James, Owen, Paige, Alyssa, Audrey, Josh

The AmeriCorps team arrived on January 10, 2020 and they are scheduled to leave this Wednesday (March 18, 2020). 

Gold 4 out near riparian area after restoration near the Sandy River Delta

For a little additional background, A NCCC stands for AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. The team that you see above is 1 out of 28 other active teams in service right now in the Pacific region called Gold 4! A NCCC is a government program that is part of a much larger federal government agency called CNCS (Corporation for National and Community Service) NCCC’s goal is to strengthen communities -like yours- by connecting with and helping nonprofits -like JCWC- achieve their goals through team based service!

Crew working on Centennial site after setting up planting event

Gold 4 has helped JCWC so much in the past few months! They have done mostly field work along Johnson Creek. Including: invasive blackberry removal, planting native plants, removing trash, taking care of existing plants, preparing for volunteer events and helping around the office. All of the work done by AmeriCorps was to help the Salmon species and ecosystem in Johnson Creek thrive. 

Leach Botanical Garden restoration work

The Corps members started off their time here removing invasive ivy and blackberry in various places along the watershed. These sites included Leach Botanical Garden, places along Portland’s bike trails, and the backyards of welcoming neighbors that backed up to the Creek. 

Crew doing native plant restoration
Crew working near spring water corridor removing blackberry to make room for native species.

These invasive species grow and spread so quickly that they don’t give other plants a chance to thrive. By removing them, this helps other plants to grow, which attracts different insects, and in turn different birds, and makes the whole ecosystem of the creek healthier!

To promote a healthier ecosystem in the watershed, Gold 4 also planted native species at the sites where they had previously removed invasive species . Paige (team leader) said that she really liked coming back to the sites that we had previously removed blackberry at, and then planting new native species because she loved being able to see the difference that our team made! Planting these native species (like Red Alder, Bigleaf Maple, and Snowberry) provides shade for the creek which prevents the creek from overheating in the hot summers!

Crew planting 800 native species
Photo of planting native bare root plants

What is Americorps NCCC?

“AmeriCorps offers a variety of service opportunities, from the classroom to the outdoors, and everything in between. No matter what you’re passionate about, where you’re from, or why you choose to serve, AmeriCorps is your chance to be the greater good. “- Americorps website