Team T.I.L.A.P.I.A.S

Terminating Invasive Life and Protection In Aquatic Systems (acronym of the title)

Photo of Team Tilapia
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Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Insta- @teamtilapia28 Twitter- @teamtilapia28 Website-

Date Started

August 17, 2017

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

We are stepping up to make a change because we don't want to see other animal get hurt. Even if they are aquatic animals, big or small. Solving our problem will not only impact the animals, it will also impact everyone and how they look at our community. Knowing what we are capable of doing for the Earth just gives us more power to actually do it. A change big or small can have an enormous outcome.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

In bodies of water across the country, there are invasive plants and possible cyano-bacteria spreading. This is a problem not only to humans but to aquatic life too. The more troublesome and invasive plants there are, the more it covers the surface of the water (people might think it is grass) and it won't let oxygen get to the aquatic animals. The possible cyano-bacteria makes the water a greenish looking color which is unappealing to the eye.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

With that being said, we have planned to solve this problem to eliminate invasive life in our water using tilapia and daphnia inside a floating PVC structure. Through the use of collecting data and building containment systems, we will have tilapia and daphnia in the water consuming the harmful and troublesome protist in our local reservoir #3. We chose the daphnia to consume the prostists and possible cyano-bacteria because they are small enough. Daphnias are part and look like really small shrimps. In our reservoir, the only time we can conduct our project is during the summer because that is when the invasives are really growing. During the autumn and winter the water gets colder which is unstable for the tilapias. That is when we conduct data with the prototype that would be in our classroom. Having one prototype in class and one in the reservoir will allow us to conduct data throughout the whole year, just in case we see something we want to add or fix.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

When a person or group gets involved with the project, they'll see an enormous change in the environment. For example in our reservoir, people like to go and either fish there or go kayaking for fun. Clearing up the invasive will make it less difficult to do all these activities. Then those people will spread the word and will possibly want to do the same for other bodies of water. Again, the plants spread quickly and vastly so we'd like to help protect and clean as many bodies of water as we can.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Compared to the other programs or solutions already out there, our project really stands out. To start, our team is using a biological and organism-friendly way to eliminate the harmful and destructive invasive and troublesome species that are in our local reservoir. Not only is this a problem to the fish and other animals that live in bodies of water, but it also creates an issue to the people that go on boats and do activities in/on the water. Motors on boats might get stuck on stringy plants, and what they think the solution is to use chemicals, which only hurts the fish, so we do it safer.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

So far, we have engaged out to many people. We had had events at our local reservoir #3 in which we were able to talk to people from the Hudson County Sierra Club, a non-profit organization. We have also talked to people and administrators in our City Hall to tell them our idea we had. People had also stopped by our school to hear about our project and seemed really interested in one day being able to work with us. An estimate of the number of people we might have talked about our project to could be roughly around 100 or so. Still, we plan on engaging with more and more people until we could make a difference across the country or wherever there is a local body of water in need.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Throughout this year, we are planning on making another prototype for our reservoir but one that is able to mobilize itself. That way instead of only clearing up one little area, we could possibly clear up the whole reservoir. We are thinking of putting wheels/tires onto the bottom of our prototype so that it can use the ground to move. But we need to think about not getting the invasive plants stuck in the motor and then crashing everything. Our team will also try to help out more locations besides our reservoir, like possibly a lake nearby. The more locations we are able to get, the faster and more efficient our project will be.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

Our team consists of 3 team members so our work in the team is equally divided. With everyone on board with the work, the vision really came to life. We do have everything we need to spread information about our project with anyone such as social media accounts and a website. There people can keep up to date and possibly reach out to us if they never want to team up for any specific event. As a team, we have the support from our mentors/advisers and from our sponsor (Commonless Apparel). With them on our side we never have to worry about not having a specific object for our project.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Mentors/advisors

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

Working with others is a powerful way to make a difference. We could partner up with other changemakers or involve other young people because if they were to know more in technology than us, then they could help us with the part where we want to mobilize the prototype. Also works vice versa, if e were to know more about something where they need help in, we could give them some tips and work together to accomplish their project. Either way as long as it is saving and protecting our environment, we are open to work and partner up with anyone.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)
  • Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian) (7)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • No, I do not identify with an underrepresented community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Email


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Photo of Brittany Corner

Interesting and innovative idea.

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