Why An Ocean Ambassador Training Program?

Are you passionate about protecting our ocean and looking to make a difference? We often hear that the ocean is in trouble or that it’s too late to act, but we want to show you that just one person can make a difference.

The Inland Ocean Ambassadors Training Program is a 5-session, 5-week online program offered three times per year that prepares individuals to take action to protect our ocean and waterways.

While we know that our ocean is in trouble, it’s also not too late to act. According to a major recent scientific review, our ocean can be restored to its previous bountiful state, but only with a redoubling of conservation efforts. We’ve already seen dramatic improvements in many areas. In 2000, less than 1% of our ocean was protected; now it is almost 8%. Many whale, sea lion, and other marine animal populations are increasing and good things are happening because people are more aware and taking action.

A big part of turning things around will include getting more people involved around the country and across the globe, and not just those who live on the coast.


Training Details

The virtual IOA Training Program is designed to prepare individuals with the skills and tools to be powerful advocates for ocean and watershed health. Over five weeks, Ambassadors from all over the country learn from top ocean advocates, scientists, and policymakers, and network with other Inland Ocean Ambassadors and partner organizations to expand their ocean and water expertise. Ambassadors gain experience in community engagement and advocacy and get the tools needed to be effective ocean and water champions in their communities.

The training covers watershed health, plastic pollution, the ocean as a solution to climate change, marine protected areas, fisheries management and sustainable seafood, the power of storytelling, how we are Heartwired to love the ocean, and much more. 

We accept applicants who want to be effective ocean and watershed advocates and be actively involved in our Inland Ocean Network. This training is designed to be interactive and participants will be expected to engage with the group throughout the five weeks. 

Inland Ocean Network (ION)

After completion of the Inland Ocean Ambassador Training Program, participants will become members of the Inland Ocean Network (ION). ION is a network of Ambassadors spanning across the nation and serves as a hub for ocean protection initiatives, problems, solutions, and calls to action. Through ION, Ambassadors have access to monthly Engagement Activities including call-in days, nationwide cleanup days, campaign involvement, and more. ION provides resources, forms relationships, connects members, and catalyzes movement actions to create a more just and equitable representation of the inland ocean movement. 

Since the ocean is not only a coastal issue, ION will grow the involvement of inland communities, unite inland and coastal communities, and grow the actions and measures taken to protect and restore our ocean.

  • Sessions are held at 4pm PT/7pm ET, each Thursday from February 24th to March 24th, 2022.
  • Applications close February 11th, 2022.
  • Applicants must be 15 years or older to apply.

We ask for a minimum $5 monthly donation during the course of the training. A limited number of scholarships are available; please see the application for more information.

Click here to apply to our Winter 2022 cohort!

Winter 2022 Training Schedule Coming Soon

Fall 2021 Training Timeline

Module 1: Course Intro and the Power of Storytelling (September 30th, 2021)

  • Introduction and course overview
  • Guest Speaker: Wallace J Nichols, author of Blue Mind
  • The power of storytelling: how we are Heartwired to love the ocean
  • How the ocean impacts our lives

Module 2: Marine Protected Areas (October 7th, 2021)

  • Guest Speakers: Michael Gravitz from the Marine Conservation Institute 
  • Marine Protected Areas, America the Beautiful, and the 30x30 Resolution to Save Nature
  • How to write an Op-Ed and Letter to the Editor (LTE)

Module 3: Plastic Pollution and Watershed Health (October 14th, 2021)

  • Guest Speakers: Alison Waliszewski from 5 Gyres and Alli Schuch from Fountain Creek Watershed District
  • Plastic pollution issues and solutions
  • The importance of healthy watersheds
  • Break Free From Plastic and brand audit discussion
  • Event planning and community engagement: how to grow within your community

Module 4: Advocating for a Healthy Ocean (October 21st, 2021)

  • Guest Speakers: Mark Michelin from CEA Consulting 
  • Ocean Based Climate Solutions Act
  • The Ocean as a Solution to Climate Change Report
  • Get to know your House Representatives and Senators
  • Advocating for healthy ocean and watershed policies

Module 5: Supplements and Introduction to Inland Ocean Action Network (October 28th, 2021)

  • Inland Ocean Ambassador Graduation Ceremony


“The IOA program is an inspiring experience full of people who encourage each other to put their best fin forward for the ocean!” -Tabitha Birdwell

“The IOA training is knowledge-packed, inclusion-focused, and action-forward! It left me feeling inspired to work with my new colleagues and friends to apply what we learned to protect our ocean and land – starting with the 30×30 campaign.” – Angie Joerin

“I truly loved hearing from all the speakers, learning all the different ways that we can help, and knowing there are ways to get involved in our communities on so many different levels. I’m excited to start doing my part to help save our ocean and to spread the word of how everyone can help!” – Suzi Fowler

“I liked the topics studied. Real issues, how to address it. Also, the real life opportunities that follow the training. I signed up because I wanted to make a difference in my community. We got together, learned and now it’s time!” – Priscila

“I most liked getting to hear from different speakers and all the resources that were shared with us each week. I also really loved making friends through this process.” – Michelle