Bring Live Ocean Exploration to the Mountains!

Posted Posted in Got Ocean?, TopStory

Sitting on a 211-foot ship just off the coast of California this summer, I went down to the studio, put on my headset, and with the help of a stellar production team in Rhode Island, starting talking to teachers at a summer development workshop in Colorado. As live ocean exploration and the power of videoconferencing united us, we discussed how engaging classrooms to science in another realm can have a lasting effect on their students.

This past year I was a Science Communication Fellow with the Ocean Exploration Trust for the year, delivering outreach about ocean exploration and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education to audiences around the world. Part of my audience was the 4th and 5th classes in Ft. Collins, CO at Lopez Elementary – A Leader In Me school. Twice during the school year in 2015 I was able to connect with students at this school to talk about the excitement of deep sea exploration, experiment with scientific concepts like pressure and density during hands-on labs, and encourage them to follow along with live undersea exploration during the 6-month long expedition season of E/V Nautilus in 2015. I was thrilled to connect students from Colorado with the excitement of ocean exploration and I know more students are out there in the state ready to apply for the experience of a lifetime.

As part of my fellowship I sailed on board Dr. Robert Ballard’s Exploration Vessel Nautilus for three weeks in August off the coast of California. This ship has spent 3-6 months each year since 2008 sailing the world’s oceans, exploring and sharing live exploration with a global audience through

“The Ocean Exploration Trust was founded in 2008 by Dr. Robert Ballard to engage in pure ocean exploration. Our international programs center on scientific exploration of the seafloor and many of our expeditions are launched from aboard Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus, a 64-meter research vessel operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust. In addition to conducting scientific research, we offer our expeditions to explorers on shore via live video, audio, and data feeds from the field. We also bring educators and students of all ages aboard during E/V Nautilusexpeditions, offering them hands-on experience in ocean exploration, research, and communications.”    – from OET Website

The excitement of pure ocean exploration by E/V Nautilus is brought in real-time to your fingertips through a live, streaming feed on the website Nautilus Live. When the expedition is underway questions and answers are addressed from a live chat box and over the air by a Science Communication Fellow and the rest of the team in the control room. From now until the next expedition begins there are highlight reels and footage from 2015 and previous years available at the site.

Take a spin around the site – you’ll see highlights from previous years of exploration across the Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and beginning in May of 2015, the Pacific Ocean for the very first time.

  • Watch a timelapse of the historic transit of E/V Nautilus through the locks of the Panama Canal. Marvel at black smokers and incredible lifeforms living in extreme environments.
  • Click on interviews with the Corps of Exploration – a diverse and talented group of over 120 scientists, engineers, videographers, high school students, college interns, and ship crew members who join Nautilus on its exploration of the known and unknown.
  • See more events and get notified for updates about the 2016 season on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Videos galore await you at YouTube.

Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for – how can YOU join the Corps of Exploration? Each season the E/V Nautilus sails, a new group (and several lucky returnees) is chosen to become part of the Corps of Exploration. Applications are open now to students of all ages, from high school to recent graduates, to join the exploration in 2016. Find the application details and requirements here – 2016 Opportunities with Ocean Exploration Trust (deadlines are Jan. 18, 2016 for internships and Feb. 1, 2016 for high school honors program).

I am grateful to the students in Ft. Collins for joining the adventure with me and I know there are many more out there who want to bring the ocean to the mountains, so submit your application today!



Written by Sarah Burgess. Sarah had the Nautilus adventure in 2015 and looks forward to many more by land and by sea. Read more at BurgessAdventures

Gift to the Planet

Posted Posted in Got Ocean?, TopStory

It’s the last week before Christmas – one of many holidays celebrated by people on Earth this time of year. There’s also Hanukkah, Kwanza, and 11 other multicultural celebrations in the month of December alone. With these holidays, many traditions are observed and practiced between family, friends and communities. Today, I’d like to focus on a few parts of a well-known tradition of gift-giving, and wrapping said gifts.

Who doesn’t love to open a gift? And, doesn’t it add that much more giddiness when the gift is disguised by wrapping, a box, or a bag? Unless you’re a toddler, you’re probably going to find much more joy in the gift under all the disguise. 

But, what about all that wrapping paper and ribbon – is it necessary to exhibit what our gift is about? Does the type or color or design of paper really add to the experience for the person we’re gifting? Maybe…but I lean towards no.

Could we challenge ourselves to find alternative, reusable wrapping and remove yet another single-use material from our lives? Can we make small changes that stack up to big change for our Planet, our environment, our Ocean? YES and YES.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, household waste can increase by as much as 25%.  Food scraps, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all add up to 1 million tons per week to a landfill (EPA). Many of you are aware of what garbage looks like before, during, and after it goes to the landfill. Think overstuffed bins ready for curbside pickup with a wind gust blowing litter away and eventually into a storm drain which leads to the ocean.

About 38,000 miles of ribbon is used each year, and likely thrown out after a single-use. If this was saved, it would be enough ribbon to tie a bow around the Earth (CalRecycle)!

Ribbon around the Earth
Credit: EasyExpat Blog

The amount of waste we can avoid by making small changes is amazing to think about and act on. Below is a smorgasbord of ideas – pick one, pick many – you can try this holiday season, then work on making the idea a habit year-round. Isn’t generating less waste the least we can give back to the Planet this season and every season?

  • Look for alternative types of “wrapping” around your house – newspaper, magazines, brown paper bags, saved packaging from mail-order products, reusable bags, and baskets are all great ways to give a gift with an extra use on the side.
  • If you buy wrapping paper, please seek responsibly made material, such as paper from a sustainably managed forest, 100% recycled paper, or thicker/heavier gift wrap that is molded easily to be flattened and used again in the future. Cloth wrapping paper is also a great alternative! Don’t forget to recycle unwanted/unusable paper afterwards.
  • Invest in and collect gift bags and responsibly made, durable gift wrap ribbon. Then, make sure your family, friends, and guests know they can leave it with you if they don’t choose to save and use again for themselves.
  • Avoid using ribbon all together – get creative with a simple sprig of evergreen or berries, or snatch up a pinecone to use in your design.
  • As always, use your reusable shopping bags when you’re out and about looking for those special gifts. Many stores give you a small discount for providing your own bag, and depending where you live, this may already be a mandatory practice. Every time you refuse a single-use plastic bag at the store, you’re contributing one less that could eventually end up HERE.

Be kind to your wallets by reusing.

Be kind to each other by taking action.

Be kind to our Oceans on Planet Earth by changing your habits.



Written by Sarah Burgess. Sarah fervently supports many ideas to conserve our Planet and take care of the Oceans – the best way to do this is by adventuring. Read more at BurgessAdventures

The Shift is Easy

Posted Posted in Got Ocean?

The Shift Is Easy

COCO asks this holiday season that you recognize your connection to and impact on the ocean’s watershed.  Please shift your buying habits and purchase products that have low impact on our local water quality. 

An easy place to start is with kitchen and bathroom products that are effective, safe, and keep you and our watershed healthy.  Following is a short list of my personal favorites, but please note that COCO does not endorse, promote, receive commission, or non-profit benefit of any kind by suggesting these brands.  The only benefit is to your and our watershed health.


Bath & Shower

Where to Buy                 (alphabetical list)

Dishwasher: Biokleen Dishwasher Powder

Handsoap: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Handsoap

 Alfalfa’s                                                                  Lucky’s Market                                          Natural Grocers/Vitamin Cottage                               Pharmaca                                       Sprouts Market                                  Whole Foods Market                                                                                                  

Liquid Dish Soap: ECOs Dishmate – Almond

Body Wash: Honest Shampoo and Body Wash

Counter-top Spray: ECO’s All-surface Cleaner

Shampoo: Alba Botanicals (various products for healthy, dry, brittle, treated or curly hair)

Sink Scrub: Bon Ami Powder Scrub

Conditioner: Alba Botanicals (various products for healthy, dry, brittle, treated or curly hair)

Fruit and Veggie Wash: Citrus Magic, The Honest Company

Skin Exfoliant: Alba Botanicals Acnedote Face and Body Scrub; MyChelle Natural Enzyme and Exfoliant Wash

Go Back to the “Got Ocean” Campaign Blog

Three new COCO chapters!

Posted Posted in Got Ocean?


Three new COCO chapters! Great Lakes Ocean Coalition, Salt Lake Ocean Coalition, Prairie Ocean Coalition

Support from our past 2014 Colorado Gives Day went to help establish and start new ocean chapters across the USA. As the first NOAA recognized inland ocean organization, we help inspire other states and communities to take action for their watersheds which all lead to an ocean.




Read more about our new chapters here.

If you think that it’s important to inspire other communities to take action for their watersheds and ocean, then consider supporting COCO this year as we develop our new chapters.

Donate Now

Success at the Blue Vision Summit in Washington, D.C.!

Posted Posted in Got Ocean?


Success at the Blue Vision Summit in Washington, D.C.!

Our political leaders now recognize that sustainability impacts our economy, national
security, and ecology. Read more about our successes here.

If you like seeing COCO head to Washington D.C. every two years for the Blue Vision Summit, then consider giving a donation to our organization so we can continue to be the only inland voice for watershed and ocean issues in 2017.

Read more about our most recent Blue Vision Summit here.

Donate Now

You’ve got plastic on your face…and mouth!

Posted Posted in Got Ocean?


Micro plastics or microbeads are non-biodegradable plastics that are used as exfoliant ingredients in items like toothpaste and soap. These plastics are too small to be filtered and end up in our rivers, lakes and oceans. The toxic plastic is consumed by fish and retained. For more information click here.

Illinois was the first state to ban micobeads and we are working with local legislators to
close the loophole and eliminate micro plastic use in Colorado.

If you want to help COCO take on the microbead problem here in Colorado, then please consider donating to our Ocean Ambassador program, which is focusing on micro plastics in our watersheds and oceans.

Donate Now

Got Ocean? Absolutely even at a mile high.

Posted Posted in Got Ocean?

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The Colorado Ocean Coalition, a project of The Ocean Foundation is part of Colorado Gives Day, which is an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. For the sixth year, Community First Foundation and FirstBank are partnering to present Colorado Gives Day on Tuesday, December 8, 2015.

• Colorado Gives Day features a $1 Million Incentive Fund, one of the largest gives-day incentive funds in the country. Every nonprofit receiving a donation on Colorado Gives Day receives a portion of the incentive fund, which increases the value of every dollar donated.

• Colorado Gives Day. It’s more than just a day. It’s a movement that inspires and unites thousands of donors to support their favorite causes online through

Give where you live on Colorado Gives Day, December 8, 2015.

• Can’t wait until Colorado Gives Day? Starting November 1, 2015, donations can be scheduled ahead of time.

Donate Now