About Us

Our Mission

We are a national network of ocean lovers working to protect and restore ocean health. Together, we advocate for solutions that center the ocean and people as part of the fight against climate change.

Who We Are

We are change makers guided by the principle that we are stronger and more influential together. By collaborating as an inclusive and vocal ocean community, we ensure that conservation policies in the United States are informed by and reflective of the people, regions, and wildlife that they are designed to serve – you.

All too often when it comes to building meaningful relationships with members of Congress and other decision makers, people feel lost and do not know where to begin. It is our job to work with our members in realizing their conservation goals and serve as their guide along the path toward achieving them.

We have an open seat at the table with your name on it. If you’re interested in participating in meetings on Capitol Hill, we’re here to help. Join us to sharpen your advocacy skills by attending our biannual ocean and coastal advocacy trainings. Connect with us and our supportive community of conservation champions to gain a deeper understanding of policy issues, how to influence them, and beyond.

We welcome you to join us on our mission to safeguard our blue planet. Learn more about membership and sign up below:

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Meet the Team

Sarah Winter Whelan, Executive Director

Sarah Winter Whelan, Executive Director

As the HOC's Executive Director, Sarah works to translate federal ocean policy initiatives into concrete "in the water" changes to how the U.S. federal government implements its management and stewardship responsibilities equitably to ensure the health of the ocean and our coasts.

Sarah is a Midwest native who fell in love with the ocean at an early age. For over fifteen years Sarah has worked to educate and engage our decision makers, elected officials and amplify the voices of ocean lovers who know why it is so important that we protect the ocean, our coasts and the Great Lakes.

Sarah lives in Boston with her husband and two small children. Before trading rain for snow, Sarah called Portland, Oregon, home for eight years.

Sarah completed her Juris Doctorate and Masters in the Study of Environmental Law at Vermont Law School in 2005. She also has her bachelor's in marine science from the University of South Carolina.

Sarah's hobbies include:

- Sleeping (see two small kids above)
- Yoga
- Biking and taking walks along the beach with my kids, even during the New England winter!

Contact Sarah at: sarah@healthyoceanscoalition.org

Jenna Valente, Director of Advocacy and Community Relations

Jenna Valente, Director of Advocacy and Community Relations

A passion for conservation and appreciation for the natural world was engrained in Jenna at a young age. Growing up in a Coast Guard family meant she always had the fortune of living near the ocean and exploring some of the world’s most special places, including Hawaii, Washington State, and Maine. As a result, she finds that she is most comfortable barefoot and exploring the coast, countryside, or mountains.

Jenna joined the American Littoral Society as the Healthy Ocean Coalition Coordinator from the Chesapeake Research Consortium where she was a member of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s communications staff and focused on building the brand of the program and ensure the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

In her current role as Director of Advocacy and Community Relations, she supports the Healthy Ocean Coalition's membership with a focus on engaging grassroots advocates around the country to support federal ocean and coastal policies that protect and conserve our nation’s ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes.

Jenna completed her Executive Master of Natural Resources from Virginia Tech in 2015 and also has her bachelor's in communication and journalism from the University of Maine. In her free time, she also is an avid photographer, collects records, and hosts the Sea Change Podcast on the American Shoreline Podcast Network, where she highlights the complex and inspiring stories of ocean lovers and coastal conservation advocates.

Jenna's hobbies include:

- Beekeeping
- Collecting records
- Concert-going
- Cooking
- Hiking
- Reading

Contact Jenna at: jenna@healthyoceanscoalition.org

Jennifer Felt, Senior Strategist

Jennifer Felt, HOC Senior Strategist and Ocean Campaign Director, Conservation Law Foundation

Jennifer Felt is the HOC's Senior Strategist and Conservation Law Foundation's (CLF) Ocean Campaign Director. In this position Jennifer works to build and expand a diverse, multi-stakeholder network for regional ocean planning across New England and helped to develop the nation’s first regional ocean plan. Prior to CLF, Jennifer was at the Marine Conservation Institute, where she worked for five years in Washington, D.C. and New Hampshire. Previously, she worked for Humane Society International in Latin America and the Caribbean and served in the Peace Corps in Honduras.

Jennifer is a native of Maine, a proud graduate of the University of Vermont and lives in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Contact Jennifer at: jfelt@clf.org