History of COCO
The Colorado Ocean Coalition (COCO) was founded in 2011, with the goal “to inspire and empower Colorado citizens to promote healthy oceans, through education and community involvement.” We are sponsored by the non-profit, The Ocean Foundation, in Washington, D.C. COCO has held three major regional conferences on ocean protection, sponsors a monthly Blue Drinks, launched the Ocean Ambassadors Certification Program and co-developed the initiative Blue The Dive. We have garnered recognition, involvement, and support from luminaries in the ocean protection movement — people like Dr. Sylvia Earle, Marine Researcher In-Residence at the National Geographic Society; Jean-Michel Cousteau, Founder of the Ocean Futures Society; and Dan Basta, Director of the U. S. National Marine Sanctuary System.
How COCO Came About
Vicki Nichols Goldstein, founded the Colorado Ocean Coalition. She has worked in the non-profit and ocean conservation field for over twenty-five years addressing a multitude of issues including watershed health, sustainable seafood, and marine protected areas. After receiving a Master’s degree in environmental studies and marine policy from Yale, Vicki worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), developing national oil spill contingency plans and co-writing plans for the newly declared Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. She then directed the regional marine advocacy organization Save Our Shores in Santa Cruz, CA.
In 2009, after a family move to landlocked Boulder, CO, Vicki started looking for organizations that had an inland ocean focus. To her surprise, there were none. She did, however, discover that Colorado had more scuba divers per capital than any state in the nation.
She consulted with colleagues and found inspiration in their support for a new initiative, an Inland Ocean Movement. In 2011, she formalized the idea and the Colorado Ocean Coalition (COCO) became a project under the fiscal sponsorship of the non-profit The Ocean Foundation.
One of Vicki’s first steps was to lead a delegation of Coloradans to Washington, DC for the bi-annual Blue Vision Summit in 2011. COCO was applauded for bringing ocean issues to the heartland. COCO aims to inspire inland people to become committed and united stewards of our ocean.