Volunteer Spotlight: Lisa Myers!
Lisa Myers is a both an FOW Trail Ambassador and FOW Crew Leader, and generally involved in everything that’s FOW-volunteer related. We sat down with her for an end-of-summer Volunteer Spotlight!
What is your connection to the Wissahickon Valley Park?
I grew up here and spent countless hours during my teenage years riding horses and exploring every trail from one end of the park to the other. The park was very different then. There were stables, where I worked, that rented horses, and later, in the 1980s, I was a riding instructor at Monastery Stables. I remember knowing every single mounted police officer who rode in the park. The locals never called it “The Wiss” and there were no named trails like Orange, Yellow, White, etc. We would just say we were going “back the crick.” There certainly wasn’t the volume of people using the park then as there is now. The quality and maintenance of the trails were not what they are today, either. I moved to Florida and was gone for 30 years but always made time to hike in the park on my visits home. I was aware of how the park was changing and improving over the years. I knew there would be a time in my life when I would get involved with FOW.
How did you start volunteering with FOW?
During one of my visits about 10 years ago, I saw people wearing official-looking FOW shirts and found out they were called Trail Ambassadors. I thought to myself, “I could do that.” When I moved back to Philadelphia in 2016, I knew I wanted to get involved and meet new people. I spent my first summer back here volunteering with the Crew Leaders on Thursdays. During my time in Florida, I was very active with the Florida Trail as an activity leader. I used to lead hikes there and do trail maintenance, so becoming an FOW volunteer was an easy move to make. I also liked the idea that there were training classes available to increase my knowledge.
What is your favorite thing about volunteering with FOW?
There are so many ways to get involved with the park. As a Trail Ambassador and Crew Leader, I have lots of options. I have experienced just about everything you could possibly do as an FOW volunteer at least once. My favorites are leading hikes, doing presentations, plantings, and removing invasives. I have also met some really great people. My areas of interest are plants, trees, and geology, and there are many opportunities to learn from other volunteers.
COVID-19 put quite a damper on stewardship activities. Tell us about what you were able to accomplish in this time.
I have been doing solo trash pick-up, particularly in high-use areas, once a week. I have done presentations currently available on the Virtual Valley Creekside Classroom page and I hope to be able to do some invasive removal. I made some face masks for Philadelphia Parks & Recreation employees. I am also looking into areas of the park that would be of geological interest once we can start leading hikes again.
What is your favorite place in the Wissahickon?
It’s hard to pick one particular area. However, the White and Lavender Trails, the Yellow Trail between Summit Avenue and Wises Mill Road, the Kitchen’s Lane area by the Creek, and Andorra Meadow come to mind when I think about places I like to go.