On January 28th, 2020, Sandy River Watershed Council staff member Melissa led a tour of the Mt. Hood Community College campus for five students of the MHCC WR 122:05 English class and their instructor. During this tour students engaged in discussion and inquiry about the Salmon Safe projects and why these projects are happening on their college campus. The following blog post is the students response to what they learned that day.
Written by the students of MHCC WR 122:05 Winter term 2020
Under the direction of their instructor Celia Carlson
Mt Hood Community College is the first, and so far only, “salmon-safe” campus in the nation, thanks to the Sandy River organization, whose aim is to make us aware that we live in a watershed of the Sandy, Willamette, and Columbia Rivers. Two creeks, Beaver and Kelly, have their confluence on our campus. For the MHCC campus project, the organization and college removed seven parking spaces and constructed “rain gardens” with drains in order to make the soil function as a filter for run-off and pollution from the vehicles. Now, parking has long been a source of frustration at MHCC; even though we have free parking, people struggle to park in front and cannot always find an available space right before class. But the new “green zones” in our parking lots make us feel part of nature; they are vibrant. As the plants mature, we will feel more and more part of the natural environment. The new domed drains are both aesthetically pleasing and modern looking; their function is to collect both rainwater and pollutants such as leaked oil and copper from cars’ brake pads and by way of a system of staggered holes allow the surrounding soil to filter the water before it enters the creeks and natural habitat of the creatures who live in this area. Although this does entail a small loss for members of the MHCC community, we feel it is a worthy sacrifice. Given that the Pacific Northwest is so closely tied to systems of water, both for human communities and for animal species, we feel that this salmon-friendly project on the MHCC campus should be a model for all colleges in the northwest to become environmentally friendly “nature zones.”
For more information visit the MHCC Salmon Safe Projects webpage.