MEET SIX OF THE DEDICATED WOMEN AT WILDCOAST WHO ARE HELPING SAVE OUR BLUE PLANET
Jules Jackson – Outreach and Indigenous Engagement Coordinator
Joining the team in 2021, Jules works to conserve our coast and ocean through youth engagement, public outreach, monitoring, and stewardship. Jules is expanding on and developing new community partnerships, creating new youth conservation opportunities, and engaging community members, especially from Indigenous and underserved communities, in the conservation of their coastal and marine spaces.
Jules grew up at the beach in Delaware and is a member of the Nanticoke Nation/Tidewater People. She was awarded Environmental Educator of the Year in 2022 by the Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education for her outstanding Coastal Leaders Internship program, a year-long innovative program that partners with Indigenous Nations to conserve the coast and ocean through hands-on conservation opportunities.
“Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is foundational to our mission of addressing climate change through natural solutions and I’m honored to serve as an intermediary between both TEK and academic-oriented science to best help protect our planet.”
Rosario Norzagaray – Marine Debris Manager
Based in Tijuana, Baja California, Rosario Norzagaray is the Marine Debris Manager at WILDCOAST. Rosario coordinates efforts to reduce the tsunami of ocean-bound solid waste that impacts more than 100,000 acres of federal, state and local coastal, island and marine protected areas on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Rosario has more than 20 years experience working in urban solid waste management, and developing self-sustaining community projects.
She oversees the WILDCOAST trash boom project at the U.S.-Mexico border and this critical, solid waste retention system has prevented more that 200,000 pounds of waste and tires from reaching the Pacific Ocean. She’s working closely with the local community to recycle, repurpose, and dispose of the waste properly. WILDCOAST has plans to install two more trash booms.
“I am confident that we are capable of improving the conditions of the environment in which we live. Working with that goal inspires me to look for other alternatives for waste management wherever we are.”
Lillie Mulligan – Ocean Conservation Coordinator
Lillie works to support WILDCOAST’s in-field conservation efforts including Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) compliance initiatives, MPA Watch, M2 RADAR, wetland restoration, and outreach. She is often on the water patrolling the underwater parks to prevent poaching of marine species and illegal fishing. She received a B.S. in Environmental Systems with minors in Sociology and Climate Change Studies from UC-San Diego.
“Growing up as the quintessential San Diego ocean lover, I had a magnetic pull towards the coast. However, I quickly realized the place I loved most was under threat and felt a calling to change its trajectory. WILDCOAST has allowed me to turn this passion into a career. I wake up every day fortunate enough to protect and conserve the ocean that provides life and joy to us all.”
Celeste Ortega – Mangrove Conservation Manager
Based in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Celeste leads WILDCOAST’s federal conservation concessions program where she helps to protect thousands of acres of globally important and carbon sequestering coastal ecosystems. She works closely with outfitters, community members and government officials to promote environmental services and best tourism practices for mangroves, birds and marine mammals in communities of Baja California Sur. Celeste also works closely with the Guardians of Conchalito, a collective of local volunteer women in La Paz who have chosen to protect the mangroves at the edge of their urban city.
“What inspires me the most is to collaborate with the communities and learn about their knowledge and love for the sea. Every individual’s knowledge is important to establish strategies for the conservation of mangroves and other coastal ecosystems.”
Monica Franco – Mexico Director
Based in Ensenada, Baja California, Monica oversees all of our conservation programs and operations from Baja California to Oaxaca. Monica joined the WILDCOAST team in 2013 as the Magdalena Bay Program Coordinator and later led our federal conservation concessions project where she helped to protect tens of thousands of acres of globally important and carbon sequestering coastal and marine ecosystems. In 2017, she was named Mexico Deputy Director and was appointed the WILDCOAST Mexico Director in 2020.
“Nature conservation is one of the most wonderful ways to give back to our planet and our community and working for WILDCOAST gives me that opportunity. My biggest inspiration is every time I have been surrounded by nature: snorkeling in Espiritu Santo Island, Cabo Pulmo, Huatulco and Guanahacabibes National Parks; counting elephant seals in Isla Guadalupe; sampling sediment in Bahía Magdalena´s mangrove forests; hiking along the coast in Cypress Mountain; releasing baby sea turtles in Oaxaca; or watching gray whales in Laguna San Ignacio, I am moved and filled with gratitude for the work that many before me have done and continue to do so I have the opportunity to be there and enjoy.”
Ann Wycoff – Director of Development
With a background in travel writing and filmmaking, Ann raises funds, finds strategic partnerships, and helps amplify WILDCOAST’s mission through storytelling and films. She also leads donor trips to WILDCOAST’s project sites to inspire others to be stewards of nature and support WILDCOAST’s efforts to preserve globally iconic wilderness, ocean habitat, coastal ecosystems and wildlife.
“I have always felt a deep connection to whales. Part of the reason I joined WILDCOAST was because its founder, Serge Dedina, PhD, was part of a team that saved San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja from being polluted by an industrial salt plant. This pristine remote lagoon now remains a sanctuary for gray whales that travel 6000 miles each winter to breed or give birth in the warm waters. WILDCOAST is producing a documentary on the story of the lagoon as its one of the last gray whale sanctuaries in the world.
Now that my daughter is off to college I am dedicating the rest of my life to conserving our blue planet, fighting climate change and protecting threatened wildlife. There is no separation between humans and nature – we are intricately linked and our survival depends on a healthy ocean, slowing climate change and taking care of the earth. We have to protect wild places for generations to come. At WILDCOAST we focus on relentless positivity and getting the work done to make a difference.”