Erin Jones Named 2015 Edward W. Cooch, Jr. Environmental Scholarship Winner

(From left) David Jones, Deborah Jones, Erin Jones, Joanne Rufft, Robert McDowell, Biology and Environmental Science Teacher, Newark High School

(From left) David Jones, Deborah Jones, scholarship winner Erin Jones, Joanne Rufft, and Robert McDowell, Newark High School Biology and Environmental Science Teacher


On June 8, 2015, the Christina Conservancy Board, members of the Christina River Cleanup Committee, members of the Cooch family, and others celebrated the awarding of the 2015 Edward W. (Ned) Cooch, Jr. Environmental Scholarship to Erin Jones of Newark, Delaware.

Joanne Rufft, Board member and chairman of the Scholarship Committee said, “This year, Erin was the best of thirteen applicants.  Our numbers have increased each year.  Erin has outstanding qualifications for this scholarship.  She is the valedictorian of the Newark High School Class of 2015 and has exhibited leadership in school, her community, and her church. Her academic and environmental achievements are balanced by her interest in dancing and chorus through which she has competed locally and regionally.”

Erin Jones, daughter of David and Deborah Jones, will be attending Millersville University in Pennsylvania and will major in Meteorology. In addition to being valedictorian of Newark High School with a grade point average of 4.77, she was the president of the Nature Society.

The Edward W. (Ned) Cooch, Jr. Environmental Scholarship fund was established in 2011 to honor the late Ned Cooch’s passion for the natural lands and water resources of Delaware and  his active involvement in the Delaware community as a whole. Ned’s environmental fervor led him to be one of the founders of the Christina Conservancy and a driving force and inspiration behind the creation of the Christina River Watershed Cleanup in 1992, which has removed thousands of tons of trash and debris from the watershed in the ensuing years.  The scholarship is sponsored by the Christina Conservancy and its affiliate, the Christina River Watershed Cleanup Committee.

The celebration was graciously hosted by the Cooch Family in the historical Cooch residence at Cooch’s Bridge, on Old Baltimore Pike in Newark, Delaware.  Family members of the late Edward Cooch, Jr. attending were The Hon. Richard Cooch, son and Delaware Superior Court Judge, Barbara Cooch, wife of Richard Cooch, Anne Cooch Doran, daughter, and Natalie Doran, granddaughter.

Anne Cooch Doran welcomed the group and told everyone how very pleased her father would have been to have this annual scholarship given in his name because he was a true environmentalist and cared deeply for the Christina River and the Conservancy that he help start back in 1982 to promote the preservation, restoration, and conservation of the historic and natural resources of the Christina River watershed.

Judge Richard Cooch told the gathering about the rich history of his home and Cooch’s Bridge, including the popularly held belief that the Betsy Ross American flag was first flown in battle at the Revolutionary War battle of Cooch’s Bridge in 1777.  He spoke of his father Ned’s great passion for the environment and land preservation.  His father preserved 200 acres around the family home including Cooch’s Bridge and the grist mill (Dayette Mill).

Interviews with Erin Jones may be requested by contacting:

Anne Fitzgerald, Christina Conservancy Board Member, 302.544.2148, Christinaconservancy@gmail.com

For more information on the Edward W. Cooch, Jr. Environmental Education Scholarship, i.e. Eligibility, Selection Criteria, etc.:   http://christinacon.wpengine.com/scholarship/edward-j-cooch-jr-scholarship/



The mission of the Christina Conservancy is to promote the preservation, restoration, and conservation of the historic and natural resources of the Christina River watershed. The Conservancy seeks to achieve this mission by providing financial support, advocacy support, communication, education, and vision and leadership in partnership with state and local agencies, other non-profit organizations, businesses, residents, homeowners, landowners, and user groups.