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Students Clean Up Mills’ Leona Creek

Kassi Kappelos

Donning crisp new white Earth Day T-shirts, Mills students braved the wet weather to remove the non-native plants that swarmed Leona Creek. Despite a little rain in the morning, about 20 volunteers participated in the Creek Clean up led by sophomore Hai Tran on April 23.“A lot more people showed up than I expected,” Tran said.In order to encourage the growth of native plants on the Mills campus, students met on Oakland’s Earth Day to remove those non-native plants along the Creek. The 35th annual celebration of Earth Day had about 65 project locations around the Bay Area where volunteers cleaned and greened their communities.

In addition to students, Dr. Susan Spiller, professor of biology, was there and explained the reasons for the removal of non-native plants.

“We are removing thornless blackberries,” Spiller said. “They cover a lot of ground and smother everything including native plants.”

She also said that the shoots from the blackberry plants can reach up to 30-feet-long and was most likely brought to Mills for its ability to grow quickly.

“It was a mistake to plant this here at Mills, it’s like a plant monster,” she said.

The students who participated were not bothered by the low turnout or poor weather.

“The rain was nothing, it helped cool us down a little bit,” said sophomore Helen Vance.