Staff & Interns

Phillips Wharf Environmental Center is proud to have a great mixture of experience and youth on our staff. Each staff member or intern plays a vital role in executing our mission for steward and preservation of the Chesapeake Bay and its' resources. For more information on employment opportunities or to volunteer at Phillips Wharf, please contact missy@pwec.org or call 410-886-9200.

Kelley Phillips Cox – Executive Director

Kelley Cox
Founder and Executive Director

A native of Tilghman Island, Kelley is the founder and executive director of Phillips Wharf Environmental Center. A trained marine biologist with a degree from Salisbury University, Kelley is a Certified Instructor of Project WET and has experience in aquaculture and aquarium maintenance, as well as Chesapeake Bay research.  Kelley is actively involved with numerous regional organizations, including the Maryland Association of Outdoor and Environmental Educators, Mid-Atlantic Marine Educators Association, National Marine Educators Association, National Science Teachers Association, and Maryland Oyster Advisory Commission. She is the recipient of the 2014 Robert Finton Maryland Environmental Educator of the Year Award from MAEOE, 2018 Heritage Heroes Award, and this year she was recognized by Talbot County Economic Development and Tourism for the Community Impact Award. 

Kelley works tirelessly to promote stewardship for the Chesapeake Bay, a sustainable fisheries for working watermen and an advocate for Tilghman Island.

Missy Cannon Helgason – Executive Assistant

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Missy is Kelley's right hand woman.  Kelley being the incredible woman that she is has a schedule that is very busy and chaotic and Missy is the answer to that problem.  She helps to get things done while Kelley is busy or unavailable or has a direct line to her at almost all times.  Missy has an Associates Degree in Business Administration from Chesapeake College.  She also is the head varsity field hockey coach at St. Michaels High School.  

Missy is not only Kelley's Executive Assistant but also her niece and shares in her passion for preserving the heritage of the watermen, the industry, the island and the legacy of Garland Phillips the namesake of Phillips Wharf.

Chris Brennan – Farm Manager

Alison Wood – Restoration

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From Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Millersville University with a degree in Biology with a concentration in Marine Biology. Alison found us and originally came to us as an intern, then completed a half time Americorps member position at our center and now has been hired on full time to head up our Tilghman Islanders Grow Oysters Restoration Project which is part of the larger Marylanders Grow Oysters Restoration Project.  You may also see her shucking our very own Fisherman's Daughter Oysters at one of the farmer's markets we attend or other events that we may be slinging oysters.  She is also in charge of logistics for markets and oyster events.

Joe Prettyman – Nursery Manager

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Joe is from St. Michaels, Maryland.  He graduated from Stevenson University in 2018 with a degree in Environmental Science and Biology.  Joe completed an internship at our center, finished school and now has been hired to head up our oyster nursery.  He is tasked with growing our oysters from seed until they are large enough to go out on the farm.

Kathy Pearson – Gardens/Grounds

Sarah Moffatt – Americorps Member/ Head Aquarist

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From Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. She graduated from the University of Tampa with a degree in Marine Science and Biology. She works in the estuarium and takes care of the animals.

Lindsay Spotts – Americorps VISTA Member

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From Coatesville, Pennsylvania. She graduated from University of New Hampshire with a degree in Marine, Estuarine, and Freshwater Biology. Working to create an after-school and summer program for middle school students.

Taryn North – Americorps Member/Aquaculture Tech

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Taryn is from Trappe, Maryland.  She is the youngest member of our crew.  She graduated from St. Michaels High School in 2017.  She was hired in 2018 for a year long full time Americorps position.  She provides Chris direct support on the farm and in the oyster house.