Niles, WEF Mascot, Becomes a National Phenomenon

July 31, 2017

Featured, Multimedia

Anyone attending a Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) event may have seen a tall, green mascot of the reptilian persuasion walking around. That’s Niles the Crocodile, the WEF mascot. Crowds flock to Niles to snag photos and the occasional hug or high-five.

An interview with Niles

WEF Highlights editor, Jennifer Fulcher, hosted an exclusive interview with Niles.

The birth of an icon

A WEFTEC 2016 attendee takes a selfie with Niles. Photo courtesy of Oscar & Associates.

A WEFTEC 2016 attendee takes a selfie with Niles. Photo courtesy of Oscar & Associates.

WEF members were introduced to the green crocodile in spring 2012, during the launch of WEF’s online networking platform, WEFCOM. He started capturing the hearts and minds of the public through a series of photos that promoted the site. WEF invited members to vote on his name, and he was dubbed Niles in October 2012. Popularity pushed Niles from the online arena to in-person appearances.

Niles attends many WEF events, and always sports his WEF-wear: WEF and WEFTEC shirts, hats, and conference badges. He has attended WEFTEC every year since 2012, numerous Earth Day events in Alexandria, Va., and the U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition.

Some lucky fans snagged limited-time sale miniature, plush versions of Niles onsite at WEFTEC. These toys also were hidden in the bookstore for the “Spot the Croc” competition; shoppers who found the mini-Nile became eligible to win prizes.

A rising star

Niles works at a laptop during WEFTEC 2016. Photo courtesy of Oscar & Associates.

Niles works at a laptop during WEFTEC 2016. Photo courtesy of Oscar & Associates.

As his popularity grows, so does the number of his guest appearances. Niles appeared at the Rally for Water on March 22 and the No-Dig Show in April, both in Washington, D.C.

His popularity has grown so much that he has begun making appearances at WEF Member Association events. Niles’ travels took him to Hawaii in February and Michigan in June.

He even has been featured in a favorite mascots list in Trenchless Technology magazine alongside DC Water’s (Washington, D.C.) Wendy the Waterdrop.

As a representative of WEF, Niles works to promote the value of water and the important job WEF members have to treat, protect, and deliver clean water.

— Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights

Other Animals Make a Splash at WRRFs

Photo courtesy Jim Miller

Photo courtesy Jim Miller

While Niles the Crocodile is safely settled at WEF headquarters, other animals seeking their places sometimes venture too close to water resource recovery facilities for comfort. In May 2012, operators at the Main Street Water Reclamation Facility in Gainesville, Fla., found a 9.5-ft-long alligator lurking in a clarifier. And in February 2009, a 4-year-old hippo found a temporary home in a water retention pond at the Cape Flatts Wastewater Treatment Works in Cape Town, South Africa.

Niles asks water sector professionals to keep an eye out for his wayward friends.

Niles the Crocodile Makes Public Appearances

Photos courtesy of Oscar & Associates and WEF staff.
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