DOWNEY, Calif. – Most people put plastic bottles in the recycling bin, but for Ceinna Lark, they’re a perfect accessory for a science experiment. Ceinna and her younger sister Ceionna are members of Girls in STEM and they’re working on a recycling project at the Columbia Memorial Space Center ahead of L.A.’s largest annual science festival.

Making self-watering planters with discarded soda bottles, their hope is to get more girls involved in science.

What You Need To Know

  • City of STEM starts Saturday Oct 10 at 10 a.m. with 21 hours of content broadcast over 3 channels

  • STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math

  • Topics covered include aerospace, robotics, space exploration, marine life, automotive technology, among others

  • L.A. is home to tech startups like Hulu, Bird, Snap and SpaceX

“I think nature is important because it’s all around us and it’s what makes the world the world today, “said Ceinna Lark. “I think we really need to say thanks and give back to it by keeping it safe and protected.”

City of STEM is an annual festival that brings together over 130 science, education and cultural organizations, but due to COVID-19, it will be held virtually for the first time. Designed to inspire young students and adults to get interested in science, Sienna and her sister are excited to share their project with other scientists, students, and the public.

“This experiment is a self-watering planter made out of trash and other recycling materials such as bottles and like fabric and stuff, so it really reduces the amount of trash that ends up in our environment,” said sister Ceionna Lark.

It’s an experiment that’s environmental, scientific and family fun. Just add seeds.

“In about a week, you’ll have some spouts from the top of your planter,” said Ceinna Lark.

Downey has a long history with aerospace and L.A. is home to numerous tech start-ups, such as Hulu and SpaceX. Both Ceinna and Ceionna joined Girls in STEM because they want to work in the sciences when they grow up.

“In the future, I hope to make spacesuits kind of like this one but fit for women and they’re also kind of stylish because I love design and I love space,” said Ceinna Lark.

But these Girls in STEM feel there’s just not enough women working in the tech industry and they want to change that.

“Go ahead. Welcome to our spacecraft,” said Benjamin Dickow to the Lark sisters as they enter a replica space shuttle control center.

Benjamin Dickow is the Executive Director of Columbia Memorial Space Center and he agrees.

“Women are over half the population and all that brain power needs to be applied to problem solving with STEM,” said Dickow. “Think of all the potential that’s there that has traditionally not been tapped into.”

Excited to present their experiment at City of STEM, Cienna and Cieonna will discuss their findings as members of a scientific community empowered to better our future.

“STEM is all around us. It’s our world,” said Ceinna Lark. “We need more girls in STEM to help make decisions and problem solve and that can’t all be done perfectly with just men in the field.”