Inland Ocean Network

The Inland Ocean Network (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 can engage in call-in days, nationwide cleanup days, campaign involvement, community projects 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 grows the involvement of inland communities, unites inland and coastal communities, and grows the actions and measures taken to protect and restore our ocean.


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IOA Cohort Syllabus

March 2

Module 1: Introductions to the IOC and the Power of Storytelling

Preparation Materials:

  1. Watch “The Blue Mind Network’s Water, Wellness & Wonder Series 
  2. Watch “Heartwired to Love the Ocean 
  3. Prepare a  2-minute max story to share and submit it in this folder - What connects/or connected me to the ocean 
  4. Make a 30-second to 1-minute video with name, location, and how you/your family/your ancestors are connected to water and upload it to the Videos folder


Guest - Wallace J Nichols, Author of Blue Mind 


What: Introduce participants to IOC, discuss how our stories have shaped our relationships with the ocean

How: Personal stories and Heartwired framework

Why: Give power to the stories that have impacted participants on a personal level, show that the ocean can be savored from inland, connect participants to Heartwired framework and confirm that you do not have to be an expert on ocean issues to make a positive impact

March 9 

Module 2: Getting Involved with an Emphasis on Plastic Pollution and Brand Audits 


Preparation Materials:

  • Weekly Question: What are your favorite/most used ways to reduce your plastic use?


Guest - Dr. Lisa Erdle from 5 Gyres 


What: Plastic pollution, watershed health, and what we do here regarding watershed health

How: Discussion about plastic pollution, watersheds, and brand audits

Why: Prepare participants to make a real impact in their communities

March 16

Module 3:  Marine Protected Areas and Engaging with Legislative Leaders


Preparation Materials:

  • Weekly Question: Have you ever spoken to or reached out to a legislative leader?


Guest - Jenny Larsen from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation     


What: Introduce participants to marine protected areas and the 30x30 Resolution to Save Nature (America the Beautiful). Teach IOAs how to use their voice.

How: Discuss the various ways Ambassadors can reach out to their legislative leaders

Why: To prepare participants for activism, provide tools to expand on movements and campaigns, to think critically about how they can mobilize for a cause

March 23

Module 4: Deep-Sea Mining and Empowering Your Voice 


Preparation Materials:

  • Weekly Question: What do you think of deep-sea mining? Is it worth it?


Guest - Arlo Hemphill from Greenpeace USA  


What: Introduce participants to deep-sea mining and how they can connect with their fellow Ambassadors

How: Speakers and Ambassadors discuss the various sides of deep-sea mining. Discuss the IOA portal and Inland Ocean Network 

Why: To prepare participants to engage on conservation topics with other Ambassadors

March 30 

Module 5: Graduation and Celebration 


What: Graduate IOAs, Inland Ocean Network, and answer any final questions, and celebrate! 

How: Announce that IOAs will be receiving their certificate via email and allow time for them to ask any questions 

Why: Because we are so proud of everyone and want to make sure they feel confident advocating for our oceans! 

Session Recordings

Click Here to Watch A Recorded Session 


Guest Speaker List

Spring 2020

Session 2: Enric Sala (National Geographic Explorer) - Marine Protected Areas

Session 2: Amy Kenney (National Ocean Protection Coalition) - Marine Protected Areas

Session 4: Congressman Joe Neguse - Ocean Climate Action and Engaging with Legislative Leaders

Fall 2020

Session 2: Amy Kenney (National Ocean Protection Coalition) - Marine Protected Areas

Session 2: Sarah Guy (Ocean Defense Initiative) - Marine Protected Areas

Session 3: Yvette Arellano (Fenceline Watch) - Plastic Pollution 

Session 3: April Tovar (North Texas Chapter Lead) - Watershed Health 

Session 4: David Helvarg  (Blue Frontier) - Ocean Climate Action

Session 4: Jenna Valente - (Healthy Ocean Coalition) - Ocean Climate Action

Winter 2021

Session 1: Dr. Wallace J Nichols (Author of Blue Mind

Session 2: Sarah Chasis (Natural Resources Defense Council) - Marine Protected Areas 

Session 3: Marcus Eriksen (5 Gyres) - Plastic Pollution  

Session 3: Seth Watkins (Pinhook Farms) Farming and Watershed Health 

Session 4: Jason Scorse (Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey) - Ocean Climate Action 

Summer 2021

Session 1: Dr. Wallace J Nichols (Author of Blue Mind

Session 2: Anupa Asokan (Fisherwoman and Surfrider member) - Marine Protected Areas 

Session 3: Jackie Nunez (Plastic Pollution Coalition) - Plastic Pollution

Session 3: Wayne Fredericks (Osage, Iowa Farmer) - Farming and Watershed Health

Session 4: Michael Stocker (Ocean Conservation Research) - Ocean Climate Action  

Fall 2021

Session 1: Dr. Wallace J Nichols (Author of Blue Mind

Session 2: Michael Gravitz (Marine Conservation Institute) - Marine Protected Areas 

Session 3: Alison Waliszewski (5 Gyres) - Plastic Pollution and Brand Audits 

Session 3: Alli Schuch (Fountain Creek Watershed District) - Watershed Health  

Session 4: Mark Michelin (CEA Consulting) - Ocean Climate Action  

Winter 2022

Session 1: Dr. Wallace J Nichols (Author of Blue Mind

Session 2: Erin Eastwood (National Ocean Protection Coalition) - Marine Protected Areas

Session 3: Kylie Byrd (Eco-Cycle) - Plastic Pollution  

Session 4: Dr. Shannon Valley (United States Geological Survey Postdoctoral) -  Ocean Climate Action 

Summer 2022

Session 1: Dr. Wallace J Nichols (Author of Blue Mind

Session 2: Dr. Craig Downs (Haereticus Environmental Laboratory) - The Effects of Sunscreen on Coral Reefs

Session 3: James Mitchell (Don’t Cage Our Oceans) - Sustainable Seafood

Session 4: Hilary Stevens (Restore America’s Estuaries) - Ocean Climate Action 

Fall 2022

Session 1: Dr. Wallace J Nichols (Author of Blue Mind

Session 2: Andrew Lang Wong (Ocean Wise) - Seaforestation  

Session 3: Marce Gutierrez-Graudins (Azul) - Plastic Pollution and Environmental Justice  

Session 4: Kelsey Lamp (Environment America) - 30x30 Resolution to Save Nature and Marine Protected Areas

Ana Carolina

My name is Ana Carolina, I am a surfer, mom and environmental manager and I work with microplastic monitoring in the coastal zone. I'm currently working on creating a network of citizen scientists capable of collecting reliable data for surveying the environmental quality of the beaches on the southern coast of Brazil. We now have 1 year data from the Island of Santa Catarina, Itajaí and Cape Verde (AFR).


Jin Tanaka

Jin Tanaka is from Japan as a Branch manager of UNISC International, UN ECOSOC Special Consultative Status. He enrolled in YOUNGO: UNFCCC Youth Constituency as Global Coordination Team, UNEP Stockholm:50 Youth Task Force, UNESCO SDG4Youth Network, UNISC International: UN-ECOSOC Special Consultative Status NGO for focusing on environmental Education via climate change, energy transition, water management, ocean conservation in Asia Pacific countries to take a lead by youth engagement. He is also cooperating with National Institute for Environmental Studies, Biodiversity Division, Japan since 2016 for a mutual understanding educational method “Kankyo Cafe”, environmental dialogue. In October 2021, enrolled in UNEP Stockholm+50 Youth Task Force, a youth group accredited with UNEP engage with UNEA, Leadership Dialogue to make a connection with economical social benefit from the youth by proposing youth involvement in the decision-making process. He is also a member of the UNESCO SDG4 Youth Network. He is also involved in marine conservation activities in the Asia-Pacific region, including tree planting and clean-up activities in collaboration with civil society and youth groups. He also reports on these activities at the United Nations Oceanographic Congress and the Intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC-1), advocating the need for cooperation and collaboration across sectoral and national boundaries.



30x30 Resolution to Save Nature (America the Beautiful)
The creation of marine protected areas (MPAs) may be the single most important step we can take to protect what we all need to survive – a healthy ocean environment. MPAs are places that are set aside to provide sanctuaries for the species that live there and migrate through. The size of MPAs can vary from one acre to hundreds of thousands of square miles. MPAs can take many forms, from closed areas, locally managed MPAs, harvest refugia, to multiple-use areas and biosphere reserves. The types of restrictions vary from “no take” reserves (no fishing or extraction of any kind) to limited commercial and recreational activities like those found in a National Marine Sanctuary. Currently only 26% of U.S. oceans (almost exclusively in the western Pacific and northwestern Hawaiian Isalnds) and 8% of the gloabl ocean is protected. In 2021, President Biden issued the 30x30 Excutive Order that calls for the protection of 30 percent of America’s lands and oceans by 2030. This ambitious goal would reduce extinctions and help curve global temperatures from rising.
  1. Year-One Report from the White House
  2. Why America must protect 30x30 (w/ Senator Tom Udall, Dr. Enric Sala) 
  3. What are Marine Protected Areas? 
  4. How Marine Protected Areas Help Fisheries and Ocean Ecosystems
  5. Fisher Diversifies Efforts to Protect 30% of the Ocean by 2030
  6. My wish: protect our oceans - Sylvia Earle
  7. MPA Atlas
  8. Op-ed Template 30x30 
  9. The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument’s Spectacular Diversity of Life
Plastic Pollution
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans use more than 380 billion plastic bags each year, which takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce. In addition, less than 40% of plastic products are recycled in the USA, and less than 9% of plastics are recycled worldwide. Beaches throughout the world are strewn with plastic and about 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile are floating throughout the ocean. 80% of the garbage found in oceans originate from inland and 20% comes from boats. Plastics collect in gyres and slowly break down into microparticles that can no longer be separated from the phytoplankton around them. Plastic is petroleum-based and never completely disappears, but instead breaks down into smaller pieces that are consumed by marine life. To address the plastic pollution crisis, the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act was introduced in Congress in 2020 to reduce our plastic use and hold corporate polluters responsible for their waste. This bold legislations aims to tackle multiple faucets of our plastic pollution problem. 
  1. Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act 
  2. What really happens to the plastic you throw away?
  3. The Great Recycling Con
  4. Should Plastic Producers Pay for Recycling? Extended Producer Responsibility 
  5. Plastic and Incineration 
  6. Break Free From Plastic Brand Audit Webpage 
  7. Break Free From Plastic Brand Audit Toolkit
Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act
The Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act of 2020, sponsored by House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl Grijalva, is comprehensive and ambitious legislation that seeks to leverage the ocean’s potential in the fight against climate change by promoting offshore renewable energy, protecting blue carbon, supporting climate-ready fisheries, expanding marine protected areas, improving ocean health, and more. By implementing a full suite of ocean-based climate solutions, this legislation would help frontline communities most at risk in the face of climate change, increase the resilience of our ocean ecosystems, and help put the United States back in a leadership role in the global effort to fight the climate crisis. 
  1. Introducing the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act 
  2. Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act Fact Sheet
  3. Ocean Currents podcast: Ocean as a solution to climate change 
  4. The Ocean’s Ingenious Climate Solutions
  5. Op-ed Template Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act
  6. Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act Section by Section Summary
Watershed Health
Every bit of land on Earth is part of a watershed. Our actions on the land and in our rivers impact the health of our watersheds. As rivers flow through our communities, they collect contaminants along the way, making the ocean the final resting place for much of the pollution and contaminants that have been carried downstream.
  1. Two Minutes on Oceans w/ Jim Toomey: The Land-Ocean Connection
How’s my waterway?
Sustainable Seafood
Definitions of sustainably caught seafood vary, however NOAA has created one of the most comprehensive descriptions. This description identifies sustainable seafood as seafood caught while creating positive social and economic outcomes for fishing communities, preventing of overfishing, fishing in a manner that will rebuild depleted fishing stock, minimizing bycatch and interactions with protected species, and identifying and conserving essential fish habitat.  The US and other countries have made progress in implementing measures to improve the health of fish populations in the ocean. The 1976 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) was passed to increase the conservation and management of US fisheries and create sustainable domestic fisheries in the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf Coast. The MSA has been instrumental in two decades of improved US fisheries.
  1. Sustainable Seafood: Can Fish Really Be ‘Sustainably Farmed’?
  2. Monterey Bay Aquarium - A deep dive with Seafood Watch
  3. Vicki’s Magnusen-Stevens Op-Ed
  4. Journey to Sustainable Fisheries: 40 Years Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act
  5. Fishermen Explain: The Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) is Vital