TTF is very excited to add a member to the team: Alex Cooper, our new Community Engagement Coordinator! Alex holds a degree in Geography with a concentration in hydrology from West Chester University. He has held positions in community watershed involvement from Mississippi to New Jersey, and is excited about mobilizing citizens here in the TTF watershed.
Alex jumped right in, staffing Exploring Urban Waters, our summer camp for girls presented in partnership with the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center and funded by the Society of Women Environmental Professionals. Next, he will focus on implementing our Managing Rainfall tour series funded by a Water Resources Education Network (WREN) grant through the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizen Education Fund as well as community outreach for our Urban Waters grant with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He will also work with Alix Howard, Education & Outreach Director on program efforts with our partners in and around Tacony Creek Park.
Alex is eager to help improve the water quality of the Tookany/Tacony Frankford Creek through community-based environmental activities. Alex shared his background and what has led him to his position with TTF.
I grew up in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed enjoying the streams, rivers and parks near my home. Some of my fondest memories took place on the water despite the litter, tires and sludge I often discovered. Drinking fountains in my school were often labeled with neon orange warning signs listing the health risks caused by our contaminated drinking water. These early encounters with water pollution formed my understanding of the relevance of our water resources to daily life.
I graduated from West Chester University with a BA in Geography and minor in Anthropology. I supported myself during school by working at Yellow Springs Native Plant Nursery and completed internships at the Chester County Soil Conservation District and the Brandywine Conservancy. I finished my college career with a year-long study on stream flow in an urbanized watershed and how to use riparian buffers to minimize flooding.
After graduating from college I worked as a Naturalist at an Environmental Center in Mississippi. I developed curriculum for a course on Watersheds while educating students and adults from Memphis and northeast Mississippi. Working with local residents for clean-ups, stream walks, and fundraisers were gratifying experiences. I returned to PA with a stronger sense of community.
In 2010, I returned from Mississippi to live and work in Frankford within the TTF Watershed. I would walk over the Frankford Creek on my way to work and notice its’ degradation.. While living in Philadelphia I served as an AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassador with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. I performed stream assessments and gave presentations on a variety of water-related topics to stakeholders throughout Camden, NJ.
My goal as Community Engagement Coordinator is to develop and partner with other organizations to provide fun, educational programming in the TTF Watershed.