We’re so excited to host Mykyah Vessels as our AWE Fellow this summer, and proud to introduce her.
Hello, my name is MyKyah Vessels and I’m excited to be a Tacony Creek Park Fellow through the Alliance for Watershed Education (AWE). Nature has always been important to me. I want to do everything I can to give back what it has given me and the TTF Watershed Partnership has given me a perfect opportunity to do so.
As a Lawncrest ambassador, I strive to improve my neighborhood and the resources I and my neighbors use. Right now we are working with the Rebuild renovation of the Lawncrest library, recreation center, and surrounding green space. Our job is to hear what our community needs and wants and to encourage them to share their thoughts during workshops with the architects and engineers.
I am proficient in Spanish and am learning Japanese and Mandarin. Along with learning languages, some of my interests are herbology, engineering, volunteering, and community work. My hobbies are doodling, crochet, and video games. In general, I really enjoy working with my hands and tactile stimuli. I tend to gravitate to any activity that is very hands-on.
For almost a decade, I have been volunteering and working with Grumblethorpe, a historical site and garden that focuses on being a staple in their community. I started out in 2011 as a Grumblethorpe Youth Volunteer. The GYV program focuses on giving its volunteers a voice and creating a space where they can be leaders. All meetings are run by the youth and they have a say in the majority of events held on Grumblethorpe. In the summer Grumblethorpe has a Farmstand. From May to September GYVs are able to work at the on-site farm. Workers sell and donate produce to Germantown.
In high school, I attended the sustainability club: Green Team. Along with being an advocate for a greener school we also built a greenhouse. Every year, Green Team studied for Envirothon. Envirothon is a competition that tests students’ knowledge about the flora, fauna, and ecosystem in Pennsylvania.
Another extracurricular program I participated in was the HSES Gear Girls. It is a robotics team that focuses on encouraging and creating a space for fems in STEM. We would compete in robotic competitions such as SeaPerch and FTC (first tech challenge). Seaperch is an underwater robotics competition and program. Teams build a Remotely Operated Vehicle that can be navigated underwater via remote. The ROV must complete tasks to finish the set objectives as quickly as possible. FTC is a robotics competition that focuses more on teamwork and problem solving. The goal is to complete the most objectives as efficiently as possible. Because of how the competition challenges are set up, students must work together with other teams. In between competitions, I and a few other Gear Girls taught and mentored middle schoolers about engineering. There were other engineering programs I was involved in such as VESTED (Villanova Engineering, Science and Technology Enrichment and Development), NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers), and ACE (Architecture, Construction, Engineering) Mentor Program.
My mission is to retain old skills, arts, and trades. My focus at the moment is to gain a wealth of knowledge on herbs and holistic medicine, to learn how to use plants the way my elders did in the past. Not only to connect with said elders but to keep these teachings alive and well. I love building and coding robots, it’s been a passion of mine since I could remember. I haven’t been doing much in robotics as much as I used to in high school, however. So I’m planning on buying an Arduino and a Raspberrypi to keep sharp. Right now I’m in college and getting a biomedical technician certificate, wish me luck!
Mykyah’s Alliance for Watershed Education Capstone project will focus on Foraging in Tacony Creek Park: learning about how neighbors forage in the park and sharing that information through both online resources and a series of workshops. Watch for more information soon!