Coatesville Youth Initiative Guest Blog

Hi, It’s Zyonna Boykin again from Coatesville Youth Initiative! This is my last week at Waste Oil Recyclers and I am proud to say that I had a very astounding summer here. From weeding vicious wild hops to harvesting produce and canoeing on the brandywine, I can vouch that all of my CYI coworkers as well as myself have had a very diverse experience and have learned a lot of skills here.


Weeding is by far the most vigorous job I have dealt with this summer. I can now identify and weed wild hops, morning glory, and stinging nettle.

Wild hops are an invasive species that literally love to grow everywhere! They are extremely annoying due to their habit of sticking to your skin and ripping it when you move away. Morning glory is also invasive but it is not harmful to you, except for the fact that you should NOT eat it… it’s kind of poisonous.

Last but not least is the stinging nettle. It is mostly known for the seven minute itch. if you have to weed it, pull it up from where it meets the ground. Also, be sure to wear gloves and long sleeves. If you get stung by stinging nettle, no worries! A plant known as jewel weed is usually resting right by it! There were a lot other weeds but these were the ones that stuck out for me.

Stinging Nettle

Jewel Weed

Harvest Produce

The CYI teens along with Waste Oil Recyclers have worked together to harvest 1404.8 lbs. of produce this year. The produce included squash, cucumbers, onions, cabbage, kale (blue and red), bell peppers, a variety of tomatoes and much more! As a participant in the harvest this year, i got to learn how to properly take care of and harvest each plant so i would, in turn, be able to comfortably start my own garden at home if i please.



Canoeing had to be one of my favorite activity at this worksite all year. Every Tuesday, We would go out on the Brandywine and test the PH levels, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, water temperature and water samples for E coli. These components determine the health of the water and help us to understand our water system that is in our back yard. Everyone should be aware of what is getting put into the brandywine; it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure the river remains healthy. This includes properly disposing of your medication, not littering, reducing run off of pet feces, and just being mindful of what you’re dumping into the sewers (including oil).



Lastly, we got to do a mural at Wyebrook Farms. The mural was a way of get rid of a symbol that did not represent what Wyebrook nor Waste Oil Recyclers businesses represented and painting over it with positivity that was appealing to the public eye.


This Summer has been fun, but working with the Waste Oil Recyclers crew made it even more enjoyable! I would like to give a thank you to Jim, Steve, Jason, Brendan, Smitty, Mike Shelley, Chase, Brenda, Biff, Patty, Tom, and Paul for making this summer as fun as they possibly could. Also, I would like to thank my fellow CYI coworkers: Bahsir, Tony, and Simon.

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