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Cortes students planting at Basil Creek
General News · 16th November 2019
Christine Robinson
Cortes Islanders may have noticed a frenzy of planting and student energy if you happened to drive over Whaletown or Basil Creek last week on November 7. Grant money from the Pacific Salmon Foundation was used recently to assist with stream bank stabilization and restoration of the riparian area in Basil and Whaletown Creeks after the 2 new arch culverts were installed in 2017.

Two of the classes from the Cortes School helped plant 100 native plants alongside the stream banks of each of the two creeks. The morning planting crew of 9 students came from the Grade 2/3/4/5 class, and was assisted by their teacher, a parent and 5 streamkeepers. The morning students added 21 plants to the 15 plants planted along the stream bank on October 26 by Children’s Forest youth.

The afternoon planting crew of 15 students came from the Grade 6/7/8/9 class, and was assisted by 2 staff and 6 Streamkeepers (including the help of 2 new streamkeepers, Autumn & Lisa). The muscle strength and gardening experience of the older students were much needed in the epic planting of 65 plants at Basil Creek that afternoon.

Stacey Larson, the DFO Community Advisor for Streamkeepers who is based in Campbell River, offered her entire work day to collaborating with FOCI/Streamkeepers and the Cortes School. She led a discussion with each class on native plants, the riparian zone, and best planting practises.

The native plants came from ‘Streamside Native Plants’ in Bowser which specializes in native west coast plants and is used extensively by other Vancouver Island streamkeeper groups. Plants that were used were: thimbleberry, salmonberry, red osier dogwood, sword fern, ocean spray, Nootka rose, Pacific ninebark, salal, and shore pine.

To finish the day, a few fresh chum were making their way up Basil Creek as the senior class was planting, reinforcing the important work the students were accomplishing and the responsibility we have of restoring and protecting healthy salmon spawning creeks.
Grade 2/3/4 class at Whaletown Creek
Grade 2/3/4 class at Whaletown Creek
Grade 5/6/7/8 class at Basil Creek
Grade 5/6/7/8 class at Basil Creek