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Oregon Stewardship mentors students from six high schools who earn hours for their senior projects or community service requirements.  Upon graduation, students are eligible for a scholarship for college or vocational school.  Oregon Stewardship awards approximately $11,000 to students each year.  When students build a trail or replant a riparian area, Oregon Stewardship and students provide ongoing, continued maintenance.

South Medford High School

In 2009 South Medford High School students mentored by Jim Hutchins, found runoff from Interstate 5 draining into Bear Creek in downtown Medford.  Those students created bio swales to help filter the water before it enters the creek.  A bio swale consists of river rock and native spirea, willows and sedge.

In the years following between seven and ten South Medford High School students and several students from Rogue Community College have expanded the original project to 4 miles of riparian restoration by removing invasive blackberries and poison hemlock and replanting with a variety of native species.  In addition they have restored an area along the creek by U.S. Cellular Fields in south Medford and created a small trail there.  In 2017 students removed brush and blackberries along the riparian area of Bear Creek Park and planted native species. Students have continued the restoration on a one mile stretch from Barnett past Bear Creek Park.  Hundreds of native plants have been planted and close to a mile of hiking paths have been built. Over the past few years, students have cleared and barked a walking trail from Barnett Avenue to Willamette in Bear Creek Park.  Panther Pride Trail meanders along Bear Creek.   All are maintained by Oregon Stewardship and high school students.

Illinois Valley High School:  Students have built and maintained trails at Forks State Park and Upper Grayback Creek.  The planted native species along Thompson Creek and East Fork of the Illinois River.  Oregon Stewardship continues to maintain the trail at Grayback Creek and Forks State Park.  

Gold Beach High School: in 1995 the Mathison family donated access for a trail along the Rogue River now called Elephant Bar Trail.  Students designed and built an interpretive trail and maintain year round.  Gold Beach seniors mentor younger students during hikes to study stream and estuary ecology at Elephant Bar Trail twice annually, fall and spring.

Pacific High School:  Students successfully helped restore a logged over parcel behind the campus.  They also replanted native trees at Ironhead Boat Ramp and the hatchery grounds on Elk River.  Both areas are maintained.   Students built Crooked Fir Trail along the Sixes River in 2016 and provide year round maintenance.

Myrtle Point High School:   Students have placed wood duck nesting boxes at several  points along the Coquille River. Students mentor younger students on field trips to study river ecology and to view spawning salmon on the Coquille River.  They also help maintain a garden at their high school.

Coquille High School:  Students have restored the planting area along the Coquille Riverwalk.  In addition they use their campus greenhouse to create hanging baskets which they sell in the spring.  Their profits have been used for plants to dress up their campus.  In the past, Coquille students led the effort to replant the riparian area of Cunningham Creek which runs along their campus.  As erosion occurs, new willow shoots are planted to stabilize the stabilize the stream bank.


Each year students from Rogue Community College’s Environment and Society Class volunteer on the Bear Creek restoration project.  In addition, capstone projects are available for students from Southern Oregon University.[/vc_column_text]

In the Summer of 2019 an intern from Oregon State University monitored native plants both during propagation and once planted in riparian areas.

Oregon Stewardship is also available to mentor Southern Oregon University Capstone students. Contact Jim at