About

Mission

To create an inland movement that builds land-to-sea stewardship.

The Inland Ocean Coalition’s unifying charge is to develop a two-way relationship with the ocean and water. Those who live among mountains, rivers, and inland cities have a direct impact on the cycles of life in the ocean. As the nation's first Inland Ocean Movement, our goal is to be a wellspring for literacy and community engagement across North America.

Vision

For citizens and communities to take an active role in improving the impacts and relationships between the inland, the coasts, and the ocean. 

Inland states should have a voice in ocean protection, since what we do inland has a direct impact on the sea—think about what we eat, the energy we use, and how we take care of our streams and creeks, which all lead downstream to the ocean. Advocates work with the Inland Ocean Coalition on issues of local and national importance through their own inland ocean chapters. In Illinois, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Michigan, Buffalo, NY and Manitoba, Canada, affiliates are engaging inland communities and strengthening the Coalition to encourage activism around ocean and watershed conservation.

History

The Inland Ocean Coalition began as the Colorado Ocean Coalition (COCO) in 2011. Founded by Vicki Nichols Goldstein after a family move to landlocked Boulder, CO in 2009, the Coalition’s aim was to inspire and empower Colorado citizens to promote the health of our ocean through education and community involvement.

Having spent most of her life working to protect our ocean, Vicki started looking for organizations in Colorado that had an inland ocean focus. To her surprise, there were none. She consulted with colleagues and found inspiration in their support for a new initiative, an Inland Ocean Movement. In 2011, she formalized the idea and the Colorado Ocean Coalition became a project under the fiscal sponsorship of The Ocean Foundation.

One of the organization's first steps was to lead a delegation of Coloradans to Washington, D.C. for the biennial Blue Vision Summit in 2011, where COCO was applauded for bringing ocean issues to the heartland. The Colorado Ocean Coalition has since held three major regional conferences on ocean protection, called Making WAVES, sponsors a monthly Blue Drinks, launched the Ocean Ambassadors Certification and Ocean Rangers programs, and co-developed initiatives like Blue The Dive and Suck the Straws Out. The movement has garnered support and recognition from luminaries in the ocean conservation movement—people like Dr. Sylvia Earle, Marine Researcher In-Residence at the National Geographic Society; Jean-Michel Cousteau, Founder of the Ocean Futures Society; and Dan Basta, former Director of the U. S. National Marine Sanctuary System.

Since the formation of the Colorado Ocean Coalition in 2011, communities across the country have been inspired to replicate the programs that began in Boulder, Colorado. Apart from Colorado, current chapters include the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, Great Lakes in Michigan, Illinois, Utah, Buffalo, NY, Prairie in Manitoba, Canada, and University chapters at the University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado State University in Fort Collins. 

We continue to inspire inland people and communities to become committed and united stewards of our ocean through advocacy, events, programs, outreach, and education. 

Core Goals

The Inland Ocean Coalition has scaled up its efforts and created robust goals for productive engagement with communities around water and the ocean throughout North America. The Inland Ocean Coalition leverages the Colorado Ocean Coalition’s sustained initiatives over the past five years to build an inland movement through programs, educational experiences, and community partnerships that:

  • Ignite community engagement around ocean and water issues
  • Facilitate learning networks through our collaborative partnerships
  • Support and enhance key legislative efforts at local, state, and national levels
  • Create cultural shifts that encourage environmentally friendly attitudes and actions
  • Empower youth through education and outreach
  • Strengthen local capacity to implement sound watershed approaches

In scaling the growth of Chapters and establishing best practices, the Inland Ocean Coalition adheres to three core goals:

  • Unite inland communities to educate and enhance knowledge of land-to-sea stewardship issues and solutions
  • Facilitate community building through education, action, and involvement via local chapters
  • Reach new audiences with the importance of our land-to-sea connection and the easy ways that people can get involved in protecting our ocean and waterways

The growth of the Inland Ocean Coalition supports our mission of building of an inland ocean movement that builds land-to-sea stewardship. Our programs provide opportunities for inland communities to tap into their interest and love for water and the ocean.

Staff

Vicki Nichols Goldstein

Founder & Executive Director
Vicki is the founder and Executive Director of the Inland 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 New England. 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. She also worked for NOAA on a variety of Marine Protected Area initiatives. She has a Masters in Environmental Studies and Marine Policy from Yale University.

Christine Evans

Program & Communications Manager
Christine grew up in the mountains of Colorado and developed a love for the great outdoors at an early age. She pursued Environmental Studies and Political Science for her undergraduate degree and received a Master of Science in Sustainability Management from Columbia University. While there she fell in love with marine ecology and conservation and decided that she wanted to spend her life trying to protect our ocean. Christine has worked for several other environmental nonprofits and is excited to bring her knowledge and skills to the Inland Ocean Coalition as it continues to build an inland movement to protect our ocean planet.

Michelle Kaufman

Operations Manager
Michelle has been working to save the oceans for the last 11 years, from the shores of Santa Cruz to the icy coast of Maine, and she is thrilled to continue this work from her hometown in the Rocky Mountains. After receiving a business degree from the University of San Diego and an MBA from the University of Colorado at Denver, she spent time at Google and in the financial industry before turning towards environmental nonprofits and is excited to spend her time working towards a healthier planet.

Lance Kittel

Chapter Development Manager
Lance is an environmental professional and sustainability advocate from Broomfield, Colorado. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Biology and a Master of Environmental Management degree from Western Colorado University. During his time living in the Colorado Rockies, Lance addressed sustainable community issues and created a livelihood around community engagement and environmental advocacy. Lance has experience in environmental nonprofits and global sustainability, and is eager to assist the Inland Ocean Coalition Chapters through strategic planning and growth.

Taylor Shedd

Ocean Policy Manager
Taylor grew up in Indiana, but always had an affinity for the oceans. This led him to study Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii where he worked as a Scientific Diving Instructor and studied coral reef ecology, maritime archaeology, and marine mammal behavior. After his undergraduate degree Taylor worked for the vessel based study abroad program Sea|mester teaching marine science to students around the world. Recently, he earned his Master's in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation form Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego where he focused on the interdisciplinary aspects of marine conservation. He also currently works with the endangered Southern Resident killer whales in Washington state. Taylor's experience in marine conservation, policy, and education provides unique perspectives to issues the IOC works to tackle everyday.

Interns

Monique Laurita

Monique’s passion for the environment began at an early age growing up in Golden, Colorado. Her infatuation with the ocean led to studying in Hawaii, the Florida Keys, and Costa Rica, learning about conservation and tropical biology. She received degrees in Environmental Studies and Atmospheric & Oceanic Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Monique is excited to bring her passion and knowledge to the Inland Ocean Coalition as it continues to create and empower inland action that builds land-to-sea stewardship.

Advisory Board

Kelly Webb

Advisory Board Chair
Kelly is the Principal and Co-Founder of e2e Sustainability Consulting, LLC, where she brings extensive experience in business and integrated/sustainable building design and sustainable design education. As Director of Campus Sustainability and the Institute for Sustainable Studies for a Colorado college of art and design, she developed and implemented sustainability policies, procedures and curricula. Kelly holds a bachelor of business degree, a bachelor of interior design degree with an emphasis in sustainable design and a master of environmental policy and management degree. She is a LEED AP O&M and holds a Green Advantage Environmental Certificate, a Certificate in Green Building from Colorado State University and a Certificate in Sustainability Leadership and Implementation from the University of Denver in partnership with Natural Capitalism Solutions. Kelly is a member of USGBC Colorado Chapter and has served on several local environmental organization boards and steering committees.

Christine Jochim

Christine Jochim is a Shareholder in the national law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP. Her law practice concentrates on energy, environmental, and natural resources compliance counseling and federal policy, litigation, and government enforcement. A significant portion of her practice focuses on water quality and watershed issues. In addition to her law degree, Christine holds a Master of Public Health in Environmental and Occupational Health. Christine grew up in land-locked Colorado, but has been exploring our oceans as a certified SCUBA diver since the age of 12.

Christopher Shrope

Chris has a Double BA in Economics and Environmental Studies from St. Lawrence University in Upstate, NY and a MBA emphasizing in Product Marketing and Entrepreneurial Finance from Leeds School of Business at CU Boulder. Chris is the Competitive & Market Research Manager at Vendavo, a commercial excellence software company, where he brings a breath of experience managing new research and corporate projects with a wide swath of stakeholders. In the past Chris has been the Managing Director of the Social Impact Prize giving seed funding to social impact startups, Business Developer for the Technology Transfer Office working with researches to bring cutting edge technology to the market, and as a Business Consultant for a medical device startup. Chris has always loved the water, from learning how to sail in the Chesapeake Bay to canoeing and water skiing in the Adirondacks to rafting through the Rocky Mountains and loves the mission of the Inland Ocean Coalition.

Debbie Welles

Plastic Specialist
Debbie, COCO's plastic pollution specialist, is a tireless advocate with a passion for natural science and a background in coalition building, public policy and business administration. Her focus is on microplastic pollution in rivers, lakes and oceans. She is currently building a coalition to explore the impacts of tiny pieces of plastic entering the food chain. She holds Masters degrees from the Daniels College of Business at DU and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. In her free time she skis, runs rivers, hikes, dives and snorkels with her husband, friends, and two grown kids.

Erin Cooper

Watershed Initiatives
Erin's passion for corals and the ocean led her to study how we interact with water resources on a global scale and how watershed dynamics play a vital role in ocean health. She holds a Masters of Environmental Science in Applied Coral Reef Ecology from Miami University of Ohio, was a 2012 John A. Knauss Sea Grant Marine Policy Fellow with NOAA’s Office of Education, and now works to improve floodplain management in the Colorado Front Range.

Jane Enterline

Inland Ocean Coalition Chapters
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. Jane advises the growth of the Inland Ocean Movement via local chapters in order to unite the inland states, educate, and enhance knowledge.

Michael Dirks

Water Quality Specialist
Michael Dirks has a BS in marine science from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida and a Master of Global Environmental Health from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Mike works with the Water Research Foundation, an international non-profit research collaborative for water professionals. In 2016, Mike also founded The Third Arrow, a small business for environmental footprint reduction planning. Mike tracks and listens to a range of public health and clean water environmental priorities from national leaders in the water sector and assists the Inland Ocean Coalition in the land to sea mission by contributing perspective on various conversations happening at regional and national scales across North America.

Nicolas Biber

Plastic Pollution Specialist
Dr. Nicolas Biber has explored the fragmentation of plastics in the environment. His research has focused on plastics’ deterioration processes, distribution on coastlines, and ingestion of microplastics by organisms. He believes that a powerful way to advance a cause is to get the public involved in it, and that plastic pollution science is for everyone to participate in the best way they can and wish to. Nicolas earned his PhD in Marine Studies from the University of Plymouth, UK.

Paddy Ryan

Travel Author, Photographer and Educator
Paddy Ryan (Dr. Patrick Ryan) spent many years in New Zealand, Fiji, and the UK. After completing his doctorate in ecology at the University of Caterbury, New Zealand, he learned to dive and take underwater photos, twin passions he still pursues with enthusiasm (he is now a Dive Master with around 1500 dives logged). Dr. Ryan worked as a Freshwater Biologist and then Environmental Planner for New Zealand’s West Coast Regional Council. In 1997, Paddy moved to Denver to start a new life in the States. He has worked at Metro State, Johnson and Wales University, Colorado School of Mines, and Metropolitan State University. He teaches Biology and Invertebrate Biology, Marine Biology, Environmental Science and Ecotourism. Paddy has published 49 books and scientific papers, 38 Consultancy reports and over 300 popular articles and continues to write books and create documentary films.

Patrick Chandler

Plastic Pollution Specialist & Educator
Patrick Chandler has ten years’ experience working in and developing environmental education, stewardship and science programs. His current focus is researching the impact of bringing together art and science to raise awareness of environmental issues, with a focus on learning retention and engagement. Before beginning graduate work at CU, he worked as the Education Director for the Washed Ashore Project, and retains his role with them as a consultant. Washed Ashore raises awareness about marine debris by creating sculptures from items found on the beach and using those sculptures to spark changes in consumer habits. Prior to joining the Washed Ashore team, Patrick spent five years in Alaska where he taught biology for Kenai Peninsula College, served as the International Coastal Cleanup Coordinator for Alaska, and worked as the Special programs coordinator for the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies teaching intertidal ecology and marine biology.

Shawn Rodine

Outdoor Recreation
Shawn Rodine has had salt water running through his veins since he was a newborn on the beaches of Hawaii. The importance of water conservation and education has always been a priority on both a personal and professional level. Paddler, surfer, diver, river guide, fly fisher, he is on the water almost daily. His biggest impact is with sharing a love of water and awareness through Rocky Mountain Paddleboard.

Susan Bruce

Sustainable Tourism
Susan grew up near the ocean in Australia and Brazil. After years of seeing the world in both corporate and non-profit roles, she now owns her own travel agency, Susan Bruce Travel, and is passionate to share her love of travel, adventure and conservation with others. She has a bachelors degree in foreign languages and masters in international communications with minors in Western European and Latin American Studies. She has published numerous articles on ocean issues.

Ted Ross

Waterkeeper Alliance Affiliate
Ted Ross oversees a Waterkeeper Alliance coalition that encourages approaches to watershed respect and conservation for drinkable, swimmable, fishable waters. He is a 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.