Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   




Late TPWD intern honored for wildlife work

Agency mourns loss of shooting victim who helped collect rare bee species.

Natalia Monet Cox, a 21-year-old Huston-Tillotson University student who served as an intern for two years in TPWD’s Wildlife Diversity Program, was killed in a shooting at her Austin apartment in late March.

In the summer of 2020, the Melissa (Texas) native was among the first people to collect a rare bee found only in Texas: the elusive cellophane bee (Colletes bumelia), a Species of Greatest Conservation Need. Her supervisor, invertebrate biologist Ross Winton, reflected on how Natalia took time to engage with a young girl during the collecting expedition and include her in conversation. It made for a special time.

The girl commented that she loved seeing a woman getting into wildlife, and the two of them got to share in being the first women to collect the bee.

“She was a joy to work with,” Winton says.

In addition to her internship, Natalia earned a spot on the high-profile Urban Coyote Project research team.

“Natalia embraced her wildlife fieldwork and research projects with TPWD and the university,” says Richard Heilbrun, project co-coordinator. “She dove right in and was obviously a very bright, capable student.” 

The project aims to provide field research experience for Huston-Tillotson University students interested in a career in wildlife.

“Natalia was curious, intrepid and ready to get her hands dirty to solve important problems,” says project co-coordinator Kelly Simon. “She was a kind and an enthusiastic learner who was eager to learn more.”

 Kelly Simon   TPWD

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