A grand Reed tradition, Canyon Day, continued to thrive last Saturday with gloves, wheelbarrows, shovels, and Otto’s scrumptious sausages. Students, alumni and community members all devoted their day to aid the preservation of Reed Canyon’s natural beauty during this year’s Canyon Day.
In a rare streak of fall sunshine, participants weeded pesky English Ivy and Clamatis from trees and riverbanks, planted native fern species, and rejuvenated muddy foot trails with bark chips. Some students brought guitars and fiddles to lighten the spirit, while others attended to children who came along with their parents.
The organizers of this year’s Canyon Day provided further incentive to Reedies in the form of a Homer’s Hut coupon valued for $3 off food and drinks when you worked at least an hour. A cider-pressing station next to the lunch grills also sweetened the deal, turning bales of apples into a crisp drink only available during the fall Canyon Day.
Unfortunately, many of the current problems in restoring the canyon today are due to the mistakes of generations past. Canyon Day’s original intent in the early 1900s was to convert the wild habitat into a manicured park. It was those well meaning students who planted the very invasive species that continue to threaten native wildlife.
For much of the latter half of the last century the canyon was a tangle of burnt-out trees and noxious weeds, but that began to change in 1999 with the start of the Canyon Restoration Project. The new focus on retoring the canyon to its original state, and the gradual emergence of sustainability groups on campus, has proved that conservation is a durable, viable tradition at Reed and one that will only evolve in the time to come.