Healthy Ocean Advocacy Trainings

Healthy Ocean Advocacy Trainings

The Healthy Ocean Advocacy Trainings are held for local and regional ocean, coastal, and community advocates around the country. Since beginning these trainings in 2016, they have become a sought after advocacy tool.

2018 Northeast Training with a cohort spanning Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey

The HOC has hosted eight training sessions along the Eastern seaboard, the Great Lakes, the West Coast, and one for the Inland Ocean Coalition. The HOC has trained over 120 people, ranging in expertise from new hires to executive directors.

In each training the HOC is proud to amplify the strengths and expertise of its members to help develop, protect, and strengthen inclusive federal ocean policies.

The special sauce of an HOC training is the blending of advocates from a coastal or inland region who are given the latitude to step out of their busy lives and spend two days together in a retreat-like setting, learning about federal ocean issues and sharing their knowledge around effective advocacy and communication.

2016 Oregon Training inclusive of advocates from Oregon and both eastern and coastal Washington

This “retreat” style training allows and requires trainees to give themselves permission to think outside their day-to-day advocacy, meet or reconnect with other local advocates, and come away with an action plan for next steps to further their work on federal ocean policies that impact or further their organization’s mission.

Each training focuses on a set of federal ocean and climate issues that have local and regional impacts and creates a framework for engagement where each trainee chooses an issue of importance and works on messaging for policy makers, media, and community throughout their time at the training. When HOC trainees depart at the end of the two days, they have left with action plans, messaging, and a community of folks to draw from going forward.


I return to work on Thursday excited and inspired. You all did a wonderful job curating an educational experience that brought a lot of different organizations together. I left feeling like there is far more opportunity to work together than alone.

— 2019 trainee from a fisheries group

I wanted to thank you all for an absolutely fantastic advocacy training. You all did an exceptional job. I was so glad to be there. The training was such a rich and valuable experience. You presented relevant information that is directly applicable to my job and personal objectives.

— 2018 trainee from a coastal conservancy group

Thank you and the rest of the staff again for a very useful, hands-on training. I look forward to implementing the takeaways and to staying in touch with the HOC.

— 2019 trainee from a conservation group

2021 Healthy Ocean Advocacy Trainings

Given the current global pandemic, the HOC has temporarily transitioned our Healthy Ocean Advocacy Trainings to the virtual realm, creating space for advocates and community organizations to attend from the safety of their homes, while still connecting with a broader community around critical issues of ocean and climate justice.

The current 2021 plan, forged with hope and a strong vaccine roll out, is to host 3 online trainings and 1 in-person training in late fall of 2021.

The application IS NOW OPEN for the JULY 2021 Healthy Ocean Advocacy Training cohort.

This training is scheduled to take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, July 13 & 15 and July 20 & 22 from 1-4pm ET (10-1pm PT) Trainees commit to attending all four sessions.

Why July? Well, Congress goes home for the entire month of August. We want to equip you with the knowledge, messaging, and refreshed advocacy skills necessary for you to have amazing constituent meetings, coffee chats, or town halls with your members of Congress on important ocean and climate initiatives.

Tuesday, July 13:

  • Module 1: Building an Ocean Community. Participants work toward building an online community and set the stage of federal ocean policy initiatives while developing their personalized path for training modules 2-4.

Thursday, July 15:

  • Module 2: The Ocean as a Climate Solution. Participants work with experts in ocean policy and climate solutions to discuss and learn how federal executive and legislative bodies are currently working toward ocean and climate justice and where local and regional voices can make an impact. The 2021 summer cohort will focus on two main issues: the goal to protect 30% of land and ocean by 2030 as it shows up in the new Biden America the Beautiful Initiative and the newly re-introduced Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act.

Experts: The Healthy Ocean Coalition team, Sarah Winter Whelan, Jennifer Felt, and Jenna Valente

Angelo Villagomez, Campaigns. Blue Nature Alliance, Senior Officer. Pew Charitable Trusts

Emily Menashes, Deputy Director for Coastal & Ocean Policy. White House Council on Environmental Quality

Dylan McDowell, Deputy Director. National Caucus of Environmental Legislators

Tuesday, July 20:

  • Module 3: Influencing Decision-makers for a Healthy Ocean. Participants address the why and how behind creating and growing relationships with policy makers in the context of ocean and climate initiatives. Trainees work to develop their storytelling and messaging skills to advance their advocacy goals and pair them with virtual group advocacy practice.

Expert: Aketa Marie Williams, Vice President. Spitfire Strategies

Thursday, July 22:

  • Module 4: Communicating for the Ocean. When Advocacy Meets Media. Participants take the advocacy tools developed in Modules 1-3 and put them into the context of communicating to media, members, and your communities to make change - locally and nationally.

Experts: Gwyn Hicks & Beach Codevilla, Riveter Communications, Jenna Valente, Director of Advocacy. Healthy Ocean Coalition

  • Advocacy Next Steps: to close the training participants will develop their August action plans.