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Who We Are

The Colorado Ocean Coalition (COCO) is a project of The Ocean Foundation, a 501(c) 3 organization. Vicki Nichols Goldstein founded  COCO to engage and connect  people living inland in local and national ocean conservation efforts.  We are growing with the expertise of our community and are delighted to have a variety of perspectives contributing to COCO’s mission.

 

Colorado Ocean Coalition Advisors

Vicki Nichols Goldstein

Vicki Nichols Goldstein is the founder and Executive Director of the Colorado Ocean Coalition. She has been an ocean junkie for most of her life, growing up in the mud flats of Southern New Jersey and hauling whale bones around Maine. Vicki has worked in the non-profit and ocean conservation field for over twenty-five years from Washington, D.C. to Santa Cruz, Calif., addressing a multitude of issues including vessel traffic, sustainable seafood, oil spill contingency planning, Marine Protected Areas and fisheries interactions. After landing in Boulder, she figured it was time to start saving oceans from a mile high. A favorite phrase of Vicki’s is, “Do you really need to see the ocean to save it?”

Photo courtesy of ©Dubinsky Photography.

Laura Allen

Laura Allen developed our educators resource guide and works at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) in Boulder where she makes climate science research accessible to society through education. She is passionate for causes that make our world a better place and has a special affinity for the ocean and marine animals. She enjoys global adventures in conservation and is excited to be a part of the inland ocean movement with the Colorado Ocean Coalition.

Susan Bruce

 

Growing up on the coasts of Australia and Brazil, it was hard to keep me out of the water. I then learned to windsurf, sail and scuba dive to explore more ocean worlds. After 15 great years with blue-chip corporations I turned my professional life to conserving the natural world, including working with Conservation International and The WILD Foundation. Now in lovely Colorado, I’m thrilled to be part of one of the first inland ocean movements to unite Coloradans to make lifestyle and political choices that lead to healthy oceans. No matter where we live, we are all dependent on and impact the ocean.

Susan hosted the Colorado European Union Center of Excellence (CEUCE) luncheon featuring Jean-Michel Cousteau, Louie Psihoyos, Dr. Greg Stone, and Shawn Heinrichs held during Making Waves 2012; designed Colorado Ocean Coalition’s (COCO) end-of-the-year survey; and developed COCO’s Five Year Strategic Plan with Vicki.

Rob Bryan

Since my Mom taught me to sail when I was 6 years old, my life and livelihood has revolved around the sea. A diver since 1975, I’ve worked as a commercial diver, a captain, and a boat builder. The ocean is my life, literally and figuratively. Now, if we are to survive as a species, we must preserve and restore the ocean ecosystem that sustains us. That’s why I founded Windhorse Lightship (windhorselightships.com) and that’s why I volunteer with the Colorado Ocean Coalition- Saving the Ocean from a Mile High. He is the Director of Operations.

Rob is a Go Green for Blue Hero for his commitment to eating no meat or seafood, in honor of our oceans.

Jeffrey Dubinsky

Jeffrey is a peer recognized activist and prize winning photographer who truly practices what he preaches. He currently resides in Louisiana and spent many of his first years there volunteering with various non-profit groups gaining intimate knowledge of the many environmental challenges Louisiana, its people and its coast are subjected to.

“Nearly every turn of the head I see disappearing habitat, wetlands being filled in, oceans and beaches polluted, illegal dumping and legal decimation of life sustaining habitat through bad policies and lack of foresight. All for perceived financial gain. The point is, I get ‘it’ and that insight gives me the edge to create effective issue related media that I believe makes a difference.“ – Jeffrey
Whether he is armed with a camera or a computer Jeffrey makes it his daily goal to document and educate the public on environmental issues.  Jeff was named a Go Green for Blue Hero because of his commitment to eating no meat or seafood to protect our oceans.

James Mercé Edwards

JME portrait

An award-winning, Spanish-American filmmaker with over eighteen years of professional history shooting, writing, producing and directing media of all kinds on history, culture and society. His creations include immersive environments for The Smithsonian Museums, The National Park Service, The Oklahoma City Memorial, The Library of Congress and others; multilingual, current-affairs programming for Public Television; investigative documentaries for international broadcasters; behind-the-scenes webisodes for National Public Radio, and much more. James is also a lifelong educator and teaches Video and Documentary Production as well as Karate and Aikido.

 

Prior to his career in media, James co-founded and served as a Director of the non-profit Empower Program, an organization dedicated to combating the culture of violence in our society.

James has a degree in Diplomacy and World Affairs with a minor in Art from Occidental College, as well as media production studies at American University and George Washington University.

John Gordon 

An underwater photographer andinstructor for Denver Divers. He started the Colorado Underwater Photographic Society in 2001. The purpose of the Society is to provide a forum for underwater photographers and videographers to sharetheir Work, Knowledge, and Techniques with each other and with the Colorado diving community in general. He developed the website EyeFathom.com in 2003 to share his photography and love of the ocean environment. Joined the Colorado Ocean Coalition in 2011. He is the Audio Visual Expert for Making WAVES.   He is leading up the Photography Contest for Making WAVES 2012. He holds a monthly CUPS meeting to connect with other ocean photographers. John was named a Go Green for Blue Hero for eating no meat or seafood in honor of protecting our oceans.

Mehgan Heaney-Grier 

heaney0-R1-E022_editMehgan Heaney-Grier is Program Coordinator for the Ocean Ambassador Certification Program. Leading up to her position with COCO, Mehgan has had a rich history with the ocean environment as a freedive champion, ocean advocate, shark conservationist, Hollywood stunt diver, TV personality, and biologist.

Mehgan first achieved worldwide recognition in 1996 when she established the first ever United States freedive record for both men and women by diving unassisted, to a depth of 155 ft on a single breath of air. Less than a year later, she bettered her own record with a successful dive to 165 ft. In 2000, Mehgan was part of the inaugural roster inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame.

In addition to her freediving achievements, Mehgan took an early interest in marine predators and their interactions with humans entering their environment.  She has spent the last 19 years encountering many species of sharks, American alligators and other marine life, observing and documenting their behavior.  Her underwater endeavors have been featured worldwide in a variety of publications including Life, People, and Outside magazines, and in many television segments and documentaries including her own series on Animal Planet. Mehgan also starred in the coral reef conservation documentary film titled, “Reflections”, for the promotion of the National Marine Sanctuary in the Florida Keys. This project was filmed by award-winning wildlife photographers, Bob Talbot and Peter Zuccarini, and was sponsored by NOAA and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

Mehgan graduated Summa cum laude in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, with a second major in Anthropology, from the University of Colorado at Boulder.  She was awarded the school’s highest honors in recognition for her field research in the Bahamas, diving with Caribbean reef sharks and studying the effects of tourism-related feeding on shark behavior.

Mehgan is excited to continue exploring the delicate relationship between humans and the marine world – believing that with a better understanding of these dynamics, we can make the changes needed for a thriveable future.

Currently, Mehgan lives in Boulder County with her family, and gets back to her hometown near Key West, Florida on a regular basis to get her “salt water fix”.  At Making Waves 2012, COCO invited Mehgan to be one of the Ocean Symposium Speakers. Today, Meghan is excited to be on board as the Ocean Ambassador Program Coordinator!

David Helvarg 

David Helvarg is an author and Executive Director of Blue Frontier Campaign.   David has written: Bue Frontier, The War Against the Greens, 50 Ways to Save the Ocean, Rescue Warriors and Saved by the Sea. His newest book is ‘The Golden Shore – California’s Love Affair with the Sea’ by St. Martin’s press. He is editor of the Ocean and Coastal Conservation Guide, organizer of the ‘Peter Benchley Ocean Awards’ and ‘Blue Vision’ Summits for ocean activists. David is the winner of Coastal Living Magazine’s 2005 Leadership Award and the 2007 Herman Melville Literary Award. Helvarg worked as a war correspondent in Northern Ireland and Central America, covered a range of issues from military science to the AIDS epidemic, and reported from every continent including Antarctica. An award-winning journalist, he has produced more than 40 broadcast documentaries for PBS, The Discovery Channel, and others. His print work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, LA Times, Smithsonian, Popular Science, Sierra, and Parade. He’s done radio work for Marketplace, AP radio, and Pacifica. He has led workshops for journalists in Poland, Turkey, Tunisia, Slovakia and Washington DC. David is a licensed Private Investigator, body-surfer and scuba diver.

Jamie Jimenez

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An independent event planner whose mission is to create high-quality, inspiring events that strengthen communities and build awareness for organizations and causes that are making a difference in this world. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Jamie has 10+ years of marketing and communications experience and has led numerous community-focused events. As the Making WAVES event planner, Jamie will coordinate a team of dedicated volunteers to create a fun and educational weekend that initiates community dialogue on key issues affecting ocean health and sustainability.

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols

Dr. Wallace J Nichols has been a COCO supporter before it even started. He believes in reaching new constituencies and creating unexpected alliances all around the world. J. has been focusing on the relationship between the ocean and the human brain through BLUEMiND: The Mind and Ocean Initiative. J.’s philosophy is that through networking and communication, we can inspire a healthier relationship with the sea no matter where one lives.

Synte Peacock

Synte Peacock is an oceanographer and climate scientist who became interested in the impact humans are having on Earth’s climate after witnessing firsthand changes from the thinning ice in the Arctic to the warming ocean around Antarctica. She grew up in northern England, but now lives in the foothills of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado. Her research integrates ecological, hydrological and atmospheric sciences to study the response of the planet to climate change, and to better understand actions and feedbacks that might amplify or mitigate that change. She is glad to be a part of COCO in order to share her knowledge about how inland activities affect the climate and ocean.

Viki Psihoyos 

Viki first fell in love with the ocean in New York at Jones Beach.  Her varied careers include professional ballet dancer, journalist, social media strategist and film producer. She also handles communications for Oceanic Preservation Society. She loves supporting “the other Vicki”, COCO, and the inland ocean movement. Her latest project, Ocean Action Tracker (OceanActionTracker.com) draws the ocean community together to share important issues, actions, campaigns and news.

Viki was an inspiration for the Go Green for Blue Heroes project, because of her commitment to living a truly Ocean Friendly life by eating a plant-based diet.

Beverly Corwin Reeves

As a retired teacher and lover of our wondrous earth, I am awed by our earth, sky and especially the sea. I don’t think it is a coincidence that humans are about 70% salt water and so is our earth. We are all connected. I grew up on Eastern Long Island, NY, where the salt water and sea life were an important part of my formative years. Sea turtles have been around since the dinosaurs, yet we humans have severely endangered their existence. I feel that all people whether living inland or by the sea have a responsibility and huge impact on the health of our oceans and the awesome creatures in it. We need to be good stewards. I am thrilled to be part of Colorado Ocean Coalition and bring awareness and activities to the Rocky Mountains that can benefit our rivers, our oceans and ourselves. She is also the Head Chair of the Golden chapter of the Colorado Ocean Coalition

Jessica Shilling

SONY DSCJessica Shilling is a passionate artist with a degree in Graphic Design and a background in art, marketing, and scuba diving instruction. The mix eventually lead her to become the author/illustrator of “Fins and Tales” a children´s picture book series aimed to educate children about the beauty and importance of our oceans. Jessica, is also an author for Scuba Diver Life where she publishes articles about diving, aquatic life and ocean advocacy while continuing to travel and dive as often as possible. www.jessicashilling.com

Andrea Lindsay Smith

Andrea is an undergraduate student at the University of Colorado- Boulder majoring in Environmental Studies. She works as an intern and volunteer coordinator for COCO. She grew up in Chicago, Illinois raising chickens in her backyard and has always had an interest in how people are connected to their environment. She is passionate about sustainable agriculture, clean energy, water conservation, and the protection of endangered species. She is excited to be part of the Colorado Ocean Coalition to help connect how inland activities affect the oceans’ health.

Stephanie Tobor

Stephanie Tobor is a philanthropist, entrepreneur and environmental activist. Born and raised in Texas, she is no stranger to the coast and has strong ties to the Gulf of Mexico. While in Texas, Stephanie worked diligently to maximize charitable donations by founding DonationDoubler.org, a database of matching donation opportunities for consumers. Upon moving to Colorado, she founded Green Apple Supply, a non-profit that seeks to educate the public about Earth-friendly options while providing eco-friendly home, office and school supplies at wholesale prices. Stephanie serves as an Executive Advisor to Plastic Pollution Coalition and works closely with the Sylvia Earle Alliance as the Director of the Mission Blue Education Initiative.

Bobbie Van Dyke

Bobbie is the COCO Volunteer Coordinator.  She is a Colorado native and attended University of Colorado where she majored in marketing.  She has spent several years working for a large non-profit organization  working as a Volunteer Coordinator and Executive Assistant.  She is currently employed at the City of Lakewood.  She lives in Arvada with her faithful dog and three stubborn cats.  She enjoys SCUBA diving, sky diving, Scottish athletic games, car racing, and traveling.  She is passionate about animals and the health of the oceans.

Terri Viezbicke

Terri was born with a surfer soul and loves the quote from Bill Hamilton stating “We are the lucky few who get to play in God’s soup and better humans because of it”. Her strong connection to the ocean is what drives her passion to help COCO in its mission of protecting the oceans. Terri is the president and owner of the303 Vodka distillery in Boulder, CO. Her company keeps everything local and follows the criteria for making Colorado Proud Products. Being a part of the Colorado Ocean Coalition gives her hope that people will start to care about the ocean. 

Dean Wiltshire

Dean-4Was born on the South Coast of England where countless voyages have been launched and some even returned!  As a youngster, he and his family immigrated by Steamship from Southampton to New York – 5 days in the North Atlantic.  Growing up in Silicon Valley taught Dean to love Monterey Bay and technology.  As an Ocean Sailor and certified Scuba Diver, he is passionate about where the sky meets the sea and beneath.

With a Master Degree in Computer Information Systems; Dean volunteers to manage COCO’s website and is thrilled to be helping save our oceans from a mile high!