The Coca-Cola Company and its family of 68 independently owned bottlers across the country invited young Americans to help deliver a better tomorrow through the “Dear Future [Community] Challenge.”  Locally, Ozarks Coca Cola Dr. Pepper Bottling Company and Watershed Committee of the Ozarks teamed up to ask students and young adults at Drury, MSU, and OTC their ideas “to protect and restore Ozarks water resources.” After reviewing many submissions, an award of $30,000 went to Ashley Cusic for her idea to protect and restore waters by preventing erosion and planting native plants.  WCO served as a mentor and fiscal agent to help Ashely actualize her idea.

WCO surveyed local partners for “needs” or projects that might align with Ashley’s idea.  Ashley decided the best fit was a project need of Ozark Greenways.  A section of the Frisco Highline trail, located within Springfield’s water supply area, was eroding badly.  With the investment from Coke and Ashley, Ozark Greenways was able to fund the work to stabilize the stream bank with stone and native plants.  This unique project provided the opportunity to engage many students, build a relationship with Ozarks Coca Cola Dr. Pepper Bottling Company, and our student partner Ashley, as well as fix a problem and make he water cleaner.


Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr. Pepper Bottling Co., Ozark Greenways, Wildscape Environmental