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Educate. Empower. Act. The mission of Project WET is to reach children, parents, educators and communities of the world with water education. We invite you to join us in educating children about the most precious resource on the planet — water.
Erica Cox, Missouri
This month's featured coordinator is Erica Cox from Missouri Project WET, which is hosted at Missouri State University in Springfield. Erica's fellow coordinators admire her for her steady temperament and calming presence, as well as for her strong background in the classroom.
"I love Erica because of her total ‘Midwestern-ness'," says Jo Adang of Georgia Project WET. "If we are in a tough situation, or lost or having trouble, instead of panicking or losing control she laughs and says, ‘We are just making new memories'."
California Coordinator Brian Brown says it is "a pleasure working with Erica on and off the Council."
"She has a great way of bringing people together and making sure everyone that has something to say has a chance to be heard," he adds. "Her experience as a middle school teacher and working with new educators at the university level also gives her great insight into what teachers need and how they think. I've called her a number of times for another opinion on issues that I've run into and am not sure who else I can ask for advice."
Project WET (PW): Why did you want to be a Project WET Coordinator?
Erica Cox (EC): I had been a Project WET Facilitator in Missouri for several years and had also worked with our former state coordinator, Joe Pitts. When Project WET moved to Missouri State University, and closer to where I lived, the position became available and I thought it would be a good fit for me. I'm glad that it worked out!
PW: What is unique about your water address?
EC: Locally, the city of Springfield sits near the top of a plateau and is actually part of 2 large watersheds-the Sac River watershed and the James River Basin watershed. I work with two watershed groups and get to see the unique features and challenges of both watersheds. Just a few miles west is another large watershed that goes into Oklahoma.
PW: How does your water address impact the way you use Project WET?
EC: As diverse as we are locally, the entire state is also very different. North of the Missouri River is predominantly cropland/farmland, as is the western portion of the state. The southern section of our state is the Missouri Ozarks and home to many acres of National Forest land. This area includes extensive karst topography, hills and clear gravel-bottomed streams. The far southeast portion of Missouri, or the Bootheel, is Mississippi River country with its own unique culture, land and water issues. Missouri is also home to several cities, with Kansas City and St. Louis representing a large urban population and vastly different cultures. Missouri Project WET is just as diverse, as it has to fit in many different settings and be available for a variety of users.
PW: What is your fondest or funniest Project WET memory?
EC: All of my fondest memories of Project WET involve the people of Project WET--I've not worked with another group as dedicated, knowledgeable, supportive and fun. My funniest Project WET memory has to be dressing like a Pilgrim and holding two dolls (babies) as part of a skit in May...or it could be having a "mixed martial arts" (OK, it was cage fighting) event that was held at the same time as a Facilitator Training. Who knows what the new facilitators really thought!
To learn more about Erica and Missouri Project WET, visit the Missouri Project WET website. And stay tuned for the next Coordinator Spotlight!