April 2016: Clean Water Champion, Annie Cox

annieThis month we’re excited to introduce you to our newest Management Committee member, Annie Cox from the Annie Cox  from the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve. As the Coastal Training Program Coordinator, Annie helps develop and organize workshops and trainings for professionals working with and making decisions that affect our natural resources.  Annie holds a masters in Ecological Design from the Conway School. She became interested in land use planning issues during her Peace Corps service teaching sustainable agriculture and aquaculture in rural Zambia, where she served for two years. Annie’s undergraduate degree is in Biology from the University of Maine at Farmington. Annie grew up in midcoast Maine, loves Maine and now lives in North Berwick with her husband and two sons. Annie is a great friend of PREP’s and her energy and enthusiasm for helping make change is infectious, we’re are thrilled to have her join our MC!

PREPHow long have you been a champion for clean water/healthy environment?
Annie: Forever! I grew up playing in the woods and along the Damariscotta River estuary. I’ve moved around a lot since then, but wherever I go I like to explore the natural surroundings. I think that if you enjoy getting out into nature and sharing it with someone than you’re a champion of a healthy environment.

PREP: How’d you get started in protecting clean water/shorelands/coasts?
Annie: I’ve been working in the Coastal Training Program at the Wells Reserve for the past 5 years. I focus on bringing workshops and trainings to professionals whose work impacts our natural resources. This can span from communicating about climate science to incorporating green infrastructure design into local planning. I did a graduate program in Sustainable Landscape Planning and Design and studied Biology for undergraduate school. But it was really my service with the Peace Corps after college, teaching sustainable fish farming in Zambia, which kicked off my career. There I learned the value of working together as a community and sharing resources.

PREP: What’s your favorite thing to do with or on water?
Annie: I love to go to the beach with my kids and chase them around. And playing with dump trucks in the sand is pretty fun too.

PREPWhat’s been your proudest moment as a clean water/climate/environmental Champion?
Annie: I recently collaborated with partners to secure funding to engage coastal businesses in Kennebunkport to help them assess their resilience to recover from a natural disaster. We’re excited to be partnering with the town of Kennebunkport and the Kennebunk-Kennebunkport-Arundel Chamber of Commerce.

PREP: What’s one simple thing you would tell somebody to do to protect the places around the Seacoast they love?
Annie: Take friends and family out to enjoy all the different protected places. You can walk, hike, swim, paddle, run, or bike in beautiful places in this region because there has been so much good work done by local, state and federal organizations to make them accessible to the public. And help support them by becoming a member!

PREP is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, a joint program between local, state and federal agencies established under the Clean Water Act with the goal of protecting and enhancing nationally significant estuarine resources. PREP is supported in part by an EPA matching grant and is housed within the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering at the University of New Hampshire.