Cindy Zipf has always been connected to the sea.
As a child she spent her days "mucking around the Jersey Shore. I was and am a shell-a-holic," she said, "I can't help but pick them up as I walk. And as a kid, I'd turn over every rock and shell to see what was slithering around underneath."
Today, as the Executive Director of (COA), a coalition of organizations wrought to protect the waters around New Jersey and New York, the is uncovering the good, the bad and the ugly and using data, science to bring awareness and pressure to those who would knowingly or unknowingly cause it harm.
COA was formed in 1984, spun off from the , then under the direction of famed sea protector and advocate Derry Bennett. The longtime Littoral Society director also oversaw COA in its inception and through its early years.
Zipf credits Bennett as the man who nurtured her work and took her under his wing in terms of administrating and advocacy. COA continues to share a building with ALS out on Sandy Hook.
Zipf began her work and her long association with environmental study and advocacy out on the Hook as far back as her college years, serving as an intern at the Fishery Center and then at the Littoral Society. She eventually applied for and was installed as COA's Executive Director.
Under Zipf's leadership, the organization has received high praise and notoriety for its herculean efforts to end ocean dumping, to develop cleaner methods of disposal of harmful pollutants, to campaign for improvements to the quality of the water and to educate, invigorate and mobilize the public, "the power," as Zipf regards citizens.
Patch's Steve Rogers visited Clean Ocean Action's headquarters and interviewed Cindy Zipf about her life working for our waters. Watch the above video to learn more.