Volunteer Spotlight: Morgan Sims
How do you volunteer with FOW?
Woodshop, or “The Hive,” as some of the guys affectionately call it. We make trail signs, bird, and bat houses, benches, picnic tables, fence railings, and whatever else the park needs.
What do you love about Wissahickon Valley Park?
There are so many things that I love about the park. What comes to mind first is an immense sense of pride. . . . I love that the park has such a strong community and so much history. I grew up running high school cross-country practices on the very trails I put wooden trail signs on now, among trees that have existed for hundreds of years, and I love that juxtaposition. Also, the fact that it is a National Natural Landmark which wraps around our city, is the perfect blend of old and new, suburban life and wildlife, . . . something I constantly brag about to all of my New York and other out-of-state friends.
What is one of your favorite moments from volunteering with FOW?
It’s hard to narrow down a favorite moment, as my favorite thing about volunteering with my group is that I learn something new every time I am there. They have given me more practical knowledge in a year than I have learned in a very long time and it leaves me feeling refreshed, curious, and grateful every time I am with them. One thing that was particularly exciting for me was helping “hand make” a bench for the front of the Valley Green Inn out of the very oak that grew in the forest around it. Steve O’Kula is someone who I consider a mentor, and it’s an opportunity I am grateful for and adds to how much I enjoy the park each time I’m in it.
How do you think FOW contributes to the Philadelphia community?
I know that FOW contributes to the Philadelphia community not only by maintaining the park in a beautiful and responsible way, but also by creating opportunities for learning. I see school programs constantly taking advantages of the park’s natural and FOW-provided resources. I personally have learned so much about the history of the Philadelphia area, agriculture, wildlife, woodworking, and many other things purely by spending the day in Wissahickon Park. That experience is available for anyone, thanks to FOW and the impact it has on making the Wissahickon safe, healthy, and welcoming for the Philadelphia community.
What is your favorite spot in the park?
My favorite spot in the park, hands down, is the Tree House. I love the woodshop and the history and personality that it has. I love the huge trees, the people, and, of course, Tommy the cat. Walking into the Tree House catapulted me into becoming a part of FOW and the amazing experiences that I have had throughout my time so far with this team.