BANDON — One hundred seventy-five coastal redwood trees will enjoy the hospitality of Bandon’s new Go Native greenhouse this summer.
In collaboration with the city of Bandon and Bandon schools, Go Native students participants will repot and tend the trees, then help with fall planting in the city park and other areas of town.
“The trees belong to the city of Bandon, so that’s a great collaboration,” said Darcy Grahek.
Grahek leads Bandon High School students for the Go Native project. She is the Bandon School District’s Indian Education coordinator and an experienced commercial gardener.
The Go Native project is all about promoting eco-friendly native plants while teaching students practical gardening and landscaping skills. The greenhouse and nursery are located on Eighth Street, adjacent to the high school. With the redwoods, students will see firsthand how the trees thrive in varied microclimates around town.
“I’m learning too,” said Grahek.
The redwood saplings were cultivated by the nonprofit Archangel Ancient Tree Archive in Michigan and given to the city by an anonymous donor who requested the trees be planted on the Oregon Coast. The donation was facilitated by Terry Mock, who initiated a reforestation project on his own Port Orford property with redwoods from the Archangel Archive.
Mock describes cultivation and reforestation as a process that combines spirit and science. Healthy trees not only improve the view, they clean the air and the soil. Archangel trees are cloned from old growth redwoods known for a long life span and huge growth potential.
Though only a few redwoods presently grow in the area, fossil records show coastal redwoods forested the region in the past. So far, Mock’s trees are thriving — and with very little special attention.
By contrast, the city’s trees will get plenty of care from Grahek and her BHS students. The first step is hosting the redwoods in the climate controlled greenhouse where they’ll be repotted — the trees were shipped from Michigan in a soil-free nutrient gel. In the fall, students will help plant and install temporary irrigation to give the trees a good start.
Troy Russell, Bandon Parks and Recreation commissioner, is working with the city to replace the overgrowth of shore pines with native species in the City Park. He and Grahek, along with teacher Trent Hatfield and Bandon High School students, planted giant sequoias this spring between the dog park and the BMX track. He and Grahek will coordinate selection of additional planting locations.
Go Native in your own garden
The Go Native project connects students with agronomy skills and natural resources education. The greenhouse was built by Jerry Fedler Construction. The project is funded by grants, donations and plant sales.
Find Go Native plants and T-shirts Fridays at the Old Town Marketplace, 250 First St. SW in Bandon.