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. The key to our success is directly related to the energy and initiative of all those who believe in COCO.
Vicki Nichols Goldstein Founder & Director
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?”
Annie Smith Operations Manager
Andrea is a recent graduate from the University of Colorado - Boulder with a focus on Environmental Studies and Geology. She previously worked as an intern for COCO, helped run the CUCOCO chapter and is now excited to be back working for the organization. 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.
Andrea Biniskiewicz Intern
My name is Andrea, and I am a recent CU graduate with a double major in Environmental Studies and Ecology/ Evolutionary Biology. You can find me hiking, hanging out by water, or eating mac n cheese and pizza. I find true happiness in the sea, and seek to protect it! My favorite species of all is Orcinus orca!
Kate Berreman Intern
Colorado Ocean Coalition Advisory Board
Join the board!
Jennifer Atkinson Advisory Board Member
Jenifer Atkinson joins COCO’s Advisory Board to coalesce its various programs to affect a cultural consumer shift within and beyond Colorado. Nearly 80% of all plastic found in the ocean is derived from an inland source. To attain a sustainable sea, many Americans need to realize their impact on the ocean, and how the ocean serves their daily inland lives. Change can be simple, and Jenifer aims to achieve this necessary shift through corporate and government partnerships, media, education, and legislation inspired by COCO. Jenifer grew up on the Pacific Ocean, is a certified SCUBA diver, launched MSN Internet for Microsoft in 22 countries and nine different languages, spent six years living in Austria and Germany, maintains fluency in German, co-founded and led dotcom start-ups, and will utilize her diverse entrepreneurial and cultural experiences to reach America’s heartland, and potentially other nations.
Alexandra Miller Advisory Board Member
Growing up in landlocked Colorado did not stop Alexandra from falling in love with the majesty of the oceans at an early age. Since becoming a certified scuba diver at age 12, she has become a partner at Denver Divers and an SSI Dive Control Specialist Instructor. Her twin passions are teaching and advocating for the health and protection of the underwater world. Alexandra graduated from the University of Redlands with a BA in Environmental Studies and is currently working towards thecompletion of an MBA through the University of Colorado. She believes as a scuba diver we have a strong responsibility to protect our ocean for generations to come.
Jane Enterline Chapter Development Advisory Board Member
Jane was raised on the Great Lakes, has lived on both east and west coasts, and now resides in the snowy mountains of Colorado. As an avid skier, scuba diver and sailor, Jane used to take clean water and bountiful seafood for granted. She is now committed to educating and working to preserve these resources for future generations. She is COCO's New Chapter Development Advisory Board Member strategically helps new ocean coalition chapters get started.
Ted Ross Waterkeeper Alliance Advisory Board Member
WATERSHED & RIVER EDUCATION OUTREACH, AND COCO STRATEGY ASSISTANCE (Waterkeeper Alliance) - Ted is business executive and consultant with a 30+ year career at IBM, Price Waterhouse and Arthur Andersen in information technology strategy and services. He has long felt the primordial draw of the waters and has a deep enthusiasm for Hawaii, SCUBA and the fishes of the world. He has an emerging passion for the economic, ecological and engineering issues associated with the removal of dams. Ted has been a Boulder resident since moving from Atlanta, GA in 1996, graduated from the University of Michigan, is married and has raised three daughters.
Synte Peacock Advisory Board Member
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.
James Merce Edwards Advisory Board Member
James Mercé Edwards is a media creator exploring the intersections between humans & their environment. With over nineteen years of professional history shooting, writing, producing and directing media of all kinds on history, culture and society, his credits include immersive environments for The Smithsonian Museums, current-affairs programming for Public Television, investigative documentaries for Al-Jazeera, and more. A lifelong educator, James has taught and developed curricula on documentary production for Boston University, served as Director of Training for The Empower Program, an organization dedicated to combating the culture of violence, and has taught martial arts and personal safety for over 25 years. James has a degree in Diplomacy and World Affairs with a minor in Art from Occidental College, and media production studies at American University and George Washington University.
Blue the Dive Leadership Team
Vicki Nichols Goldstein Colorado Ocean Coalition
Vicki Nichols Goldstein is the founder and Executive Director of the Colorado Ocean Coalition. Vicki has been diving since the early 80’s and has a Masters Degree from Yale University in environmental studies and ocean policy. She has worked in the non-profit and ocean conservation field for over twenty-five years from Washington, D.C. to Santa Cruz, CA, addressing a multitude of issues including vessel traffic, sustainable seafood, oil spill contingency planning, Marine Protected Areas and fisheries interactions.
Ali Miller Denver Divers
Alexandra (Ali) Miller is President of Colorado Scuba Retailers Association (CSRA), partner at Denver Divers, and an SSI Dive Control Specialist Instructor. Alexandra graduated from the University of Redlands with a BA in Environmental Studies and holds an MBA from the University of Colorado, Denver. She is an advisory board member with the Colorado Ocean Coalition and believes that, as scuba divers we have a strong responsibility to protect our ocean for generations to come.
Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza Ocean First Institute
Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza is Executive Director of Ocean First Institute. Holds a Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from Florida Atlantic University and is the author of numerous scientific publications. Mikki is passionate about sharing her love of the ocean, the joy of exploration and the critical importance of science. Her research focuses on the sensory biology and ecological physiology of sharks, skates and rays, and she has been a tireless advocate for sharks, highlighting their global declines and framing new directions for their conservation.
Steve Weaver Weaver's Dive and Travel
Steve Weaver is the owner of Weaver’s Dive & Travel Center and part of the Colorado Scuba Retailers Association (CSRA). He is a PADI Master Instructor Trainer and has been certifying divers since 1982. He has organized and escorted trips to destinations on 6 continents and he has logged over 5000 dives in both fresh and saltwater environments
Graham Casden Ocean First Institute
Graham Casden is the founder of Ocean First Divers, one of the leading environmental advocates in the dive industry, and Ocean First Institute, a Colorado non-profit whose mission is to use novel strategies in science and education to provide pathways for people to take action and make smart decisions that protect our ocean. Graham is a CU alumnus from the Leeds School of Business, a SSI Divemaster Instructor and underwater photographer with hundreds of logged dives around the world. As a sentient being and small business owner, his goal is to offer products and services that enhance people’s lives and affords them the opportunity to witness the same magic he has been fortunate enough to experience.
Mehgan Heaney-Grier Freediver & Marine Conservationist
Mehgan Heaney-Grier is a freedive champion, Hollywood stunt diver, TV personality, marine conservationist and biologist. In 1996 Mehgan established the first-ever United States freedive record for both men and women in the constant weight category 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 she was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural roster. Mehgan holds a BA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with a second major in Anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her honors thesis research focused on the effects of tourism-related feeding on Caribbean reef shark behavior. Mehgan was the former Program Coordinator for the Ocean Ambassador Certification Program with the Colorado Ocean Coalition.
Doug McNeese SSI
Doug McNeese is President and CEO of SSI, has been involved in the diving industry since the age of 10 when his family opened up their first dive store. In 1982 he purchased ‘The Dive Shop’ from his father and began the expansion of the company. In 1993 Doug purchased NASDS and in late 1998 merged with SSI. Nine years following the merger, Doug is and will continue to be a driving force in the promotion of SSI Worldwide and strengthening its growth through retailers and manufacturers. Doug strongly believes that the “doorway to diving” is the retailer. His passion is to go beyond what has been done, bring more people into the sport and to make scuba diving a lifetime activity.
Laurie J Wilson Blue Ocean Business Summit
Laurie J Wilson is Founder of the BlueOceanNetwork.com – an online news hub, ocean entrepreneur community and sustainable business resource. With more than 25 years dive industry experience, she has also created the DEMA Dive Travel Conference,hosts the Blue Ocean Business Summit.com, and has brought business training to more than 13,400 dive pros. Laurie is an MBA, Certified Management Consultant (CMC), Platinum Pro, and member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame, and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).