Alessandra is a global citizen since birth: an Italian, born in Germany, raised between Latin-America and Europe, currently living in Brussels. Her international upbringing instilled in her the passion for travelling and exploring different cultures and corners of the world.
After high school she travelled and worked for two years with Up with People, an international non-profit organisation, which inspires young people to take personal action to make positive change through travel, volunteering, and music.
She then studied languages and communication and obtained a masters in European studies. Alessandra has more than 15 years of international experience in communication, public relations, European affairs and project management. Currently she works as Communication Officer at the Directorate General for Climate Action of the European Commission.
She is a keen sailor and Board Member of the Sailing Club of the EU institutions. Listening to Jimmy Cornell’s stories about his sailing adventures, as well as his observations about the impact climate change is having on our oceans made her think about how she could combine her experience in communicating about the human impacts on our climate and the planet we live on with her passion for sailing. eXXpedition seemed like a great opportunity to show how every individual action can contribute to tackling global challenges.
Elementary School Teacher
Melissa Donich is an elementary school teacher and graduate student in Environmental Education in British Columbia. She has worked on various local initiatives across the province to prevent harmful, unnecessary plastics from entering the environment. Today, she is the founder of Drop the Plastic Society, an organization dedicated to finding sustainable solutions to the plastic pollution problem in Canada. While at sea, Melissa will be continuing her graduate studies and excited to bring inspiration, stories and research back to shore. She has a passion for the outdoors and loves being in the sun and in the water.
I was born and raised in the remote island of Rapa Nui, my dad was a native man and he raised me with the Polynesian values of collaboration, empathy and protection for the future generation, our natural and our cultural heritage.
I love surfing and being in nature. As an islander the ocean is part of my every single day and I realise how it is being destroyed. This is something that I just can’t watch with crossed arms. I quit my job (as a Kinesiologist 4 years ago in the local hospital) and started working full time for the ocean in marine conservation in a local community NGO Te Mau O Te Vaikava O Rapa Nui (the richness of the ocean of Rapa Nui). Here I had the chance to learn more about the fragillity of the ocean, participate in national an international congresses, workshops, and programs.
Now, I’m the vice-president of Te Mau and work on a marine debris interception program in partnership with Parley and their network of collaborators.
United States of America
Environmental Non-Profit Executive
Earning a B.A. from UCLA in the Conservation of Ecosystems, and an inter-disciplinary M.A. in Environmental Leadership from Antioch University, Jenny believes firmly in doing all we can to avoid unnecessary exposures to toxins in our daily lives and in protecting our environment.
Currently serving as Executive Manager for MADE SAFE, and previously for Healthy Child Healthy World, she enjoys working at the leading-edge of environmental advocacy, education, policy building and health, most recently by producing sustainability conferences like #raisethegreenbar.
Before, during and after this unique eXXpedition adventure, Jenny plans to challenge herself to lead and educate more effectively, helping to focus the world’s attention on halting excessive plastic production and reducing toxic, marine-killing, non-biodegrading plastics in oceans and waterways.
She thanks her financial sponsor On the Day! and hopes you will support her other listed sponsors for all they do around ocean plastic research, advocacy and cleanup.
Jenny is dedicating this trip in memory of Jeremy Dossetter in order that his love of the ocean continues through her efforts. Please support his favorite charity San Francisco Surfrider, sf.surfrider.org/rise-above-plastic/
Helen is a an advocate for refugees and has spent her career working with and for refugees in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the US, in remote refugee camps and in modern cities. She loves learning about the cultures and the people she is working with and has an endless curiosity about our wonderful world.
She is passionate about fighting for refugees’ rights, and in her spare time loves sailing, the ocean and the power of nature. She first learned about the shocking scope of plastic in the oceans on a sailing voyage to Antarctica, and wants to use the eXXpedition experience to learn more, to contribute to science and finding solutions as well as bringing awareness.
Head of Yacht Management Operations
Having grown up by the coast of North Holland, Stephanie’s passion for the ocean started at a young age. She has almost 10 years of experience in the yachting industry, of which she spent 2 years at sea as a crew member on a busy 50m charter yacht. She has crossed the Atlantic Ocean several times and sailed the seas in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.
With a backpack full of experience, she now keeps both feet well and truly on dry land in the South of France and manages the internal operations for the Yacht Management department at Y.CO. Stephanie’s goal is to inspire everyone to make a positive impact on the health of our ocean as individuals and as a team. From this trip she hopes to have a better understanding of the issues that we are facing, to then spread awareness about what each of us can do to make a change.
Senior Lecturer at University of Western Brittany (France) and Adjunct Researcher at James Cook University (Australia), Géraldine Le Roux teaches anthropology and art history to students from the age of 17 to 71. As an anthropologist, she is specialised on art, marine pollution and indigenous sovereignty. She has conducted many fieldwork in Australia and in the Pacific since 2005. Passionnated, she also works as a freelance curator, showcasing in France and Europe emerging artists from Pacific countries. She is currently editing a book on the artistic and semi-industrial recycling process of ghost nets.
BRYONY is a keen and experienced sailor, having been brought up on and around boats, racing dinghies and spending summers on board her family’s sailing yacht. Bryony has crewed on Volvo 60 racing boats and has also sailed across the Atlantic. Her time and experience on the water has instilled an appreciation of the sea that has influenced her career today. After gaining a Masters in Marine Biology and Ecology, Bryony now works in marine conservation for the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, based in Peterborough.
Bryony’s goals for eXXpedition are to learn more about marine plastics and how they are impacting both the marine environment and in turn, our health. Bryony will be documenting her experiences during Round Britain to help spread awareness of the issue on her blog All Things Briney.
MEGAN is currently studying for a BSc in Marine Biology at the University of Plymouth, which is one of eXXpedition Round Britain’s partners. Her main interests lie in algae and conservation, including investigating the effects of microplastics on the marine environment. Megan has previously worked as a beach ranger for the Polzeath Marine Conservation Group in Cornwall, where she gained experience in educating the public on local marine conservation issues and also in leading beach cleans, rock pooling and boat surveys, among other activities. It was during her time as a beach ranger where she first heard of eXXpedition and she could not wait to get involved!
Megan is looking forward to using this opportunity to provide the wider public with an understanding of microplastics and the way that they are affecting the marine environment. Megan is also hoping to collect a data to investigate the relationship between microplastics and potential effects on plankton communities around the UK.
JESS loves adventure, exploring and learning about the world. Having always been a sports enthusiast, the outdoors and being active is her favourite pastime.
Jess was born in London, but shortly after moved to Germany. The first language she spoke was German in Kindergarten, and can credit her operational efficiency to her german schooling! Living so close to Austria, Jess started skiing at the age of 3 and has loved it ever since.
Once back in the UK, Jess went to school in Berkshire, played Lacrosse for Junior England, learnt to sail in South Devon, went to Exeter University, carried on sailing in South Devon, and graduated with a BSC in Psychology and a MSC in Tourism Development and Events Management. Since 2008, she has been working as an operations project manager on large scale, international events such as the FIFA World Cup, Asian Football Cup, Olympics and Rugby World Cup. These events have enabled her to live in cool places around the world and given her time to travel and experience many countries in between events, fulfilling a major passion of hers.
KATIE loves wild places. Born and raised in South Yorkshire, on the edge of the Peak District, she graduated from Bournemouth University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Safety, Health and Environmental Management.
After graduating Katie followed her passion for conservation and stewardship of our natural environment, and focused on delivering educational training and implementing environmental management systems for businesses, specialising in the food, drink, and manufacturing industries. Her work has taken her to all four corners of the UK and across Europe. Katie has worked across all sectors of business in her consultancy roles, for non for profit organisations, private industry, local government, and the Environment Agency.
She has lobbied government on many issues related to packaging and waste legislation and has regulated and licenced producers, reprocessors and compliance schemes in line with the fulfilment of the Producer Responsibility Regulations for Packaging, Batteries and Waste Electronics.
Katie has a diverse history of non-profit work, from advocating and fundraising for wounded veterans in the UK and USA, community engagement with under privileged children in Marrakesh, and more recently she has pledged her commitment to help rebuild the Children of the Universe orphanage, destroyed in the April 2015 Nepal earthquakes.
No stranger to expedition life, in 2010 Katie got the bug for high altitude exploration when she trekked to Everest Base Camp, through the Khumbu Valley of Nepal. Last summer she reached her highest point to date when she summited Mount Elbrus, Europe’s highest mountain, and one of the 7 Summits.
Now based in the South West of England, Katie founded the Intention Project in 2015, a platform that inspires change through engaging, educating, and empowering people to focus their Intention to create a sustainable future. Katie is a firm believer that we all have a unique gift to share with the world, and she is passionate about connecting people with their unique purpose, to unlock and reach their full potential.
When she’s not exploring, Katie loves all pursuits that allow her to be creative, anything from painting and jewellery design to yoga, blogging and cooking. Clean living is her highest priority, and Katie hopes that through eXXpedition she can better understand the implications of this up and down the food chain, and also champion more conscious consumer choices amongst her peers.
Katie is a proud and passionate Plant Powered athlete, and as Head Chef aboard Sea Dragon, she is excited to show off the benefits of a clean, organic, plant based diet. Our mental and physical well-being all start with our food choices, and Katie is keen to explore and carry out research into the diet and lifestyle choices of the crew, to compare the levels of pesticides present in their bodies before setting sail and again after docking in Recife, following a 23 day ‘sea-tox’
Katie believes that connecting people to the natural environment through the power of story telling and creating a dialogue around the unseen affects of ocean pollution, and the affect this has on human health and wellbeing is critical to the future of conservation. Only when people realise their own health is damaged when the health of the oceans are damaged, will people take responsibility and act to instigate change.
United States of America
SIMONE read a book in college called Our Bodies, Ourselves now published in 30 languages. It was revolutionary. Published by 12 women in the late 1960’s it discussed women’s bodies, health and sexuality which challenged the medical establishment of the day.
It also changed the patient doctor relationship for the better for everyone in the U.S. Since then I decided I wanted to do something that made a positive impact on people’s lives and realized progress for women is fought for, usually by women.
Finding strong women role models making big changes like those authors would be very inspiring. After short jobs with the U.S Forest Service, commercial fishing, abalone and sea cucumber diving in Alaska Simone worked in video production.
She began making in-kind promotional videos and public service announcements for charities, T.V and non-broadcast. Simone became a Board Member of the local women’s shelter and the United Way of Anchorage which helped her find out about the needs in the community.
One example is Susan Butcher who won the Iditarod consecutively, a 1,500 mile sled dog race in the freezing Alaska wilderness and climbing Denali aka Mt. Mckinley by dog sled. Simone’s most memorable endeavors were a T.V news style program called Young Alaskans where the positive achievements of teenagers were highlighted, a promotional video for a charity Moving Mountains in Kenya to assist Nairobi’s street children to attend school and Kham Aid Foundation to help marginalized Tibetans living in the Autonomous Region of Tibet.
Although she has not worked in the video industry for some time since she is raising two home birthed boys, she is still involved in the community. Most recent hosting a fundraiser to assist sex trafficked women and supporting a center for abused children.
Simone is very inspired about the research, message and achievements of the other crew with eXXpedition. This is the first time her activist spirit combines with her hobby of sailing. When not cruising with the family in the summer Simone takes care of her eighty-nine year old mother and runs an art gallery in Sarasota, Florida.
Since then she decided she wanted to do something that made a positive impact on people’s lives and realized progress for women is fought for, usually by women.
Her goals are to learn about the ocean research so that I may be able to do the same with her family on their Camper Nicholson 35 foot sailboat. She also hopes to assist with the video needs and increase her sailing knowledge to prepare for her Yachtmaster Offshore and Ocean exam.
Simone will be teaming with Suncoast Waterkeeper during the next year to raise awareness about the toxics in our seas. Based out of Sarasota, Florida it has a similar mission to eXXpedition. Suncoast Waterkeeper is protecting and restoring Florida Suncoast’s waterways through enforcement, fieldwork, advocacy, and environmental education for the benefit of the communities that rely upon these precious coastal resources.
An advocate of thoughtful minimalistic living. Passionate about healthy living from all aspects particularly ocean health as it has such huge impact on all living species. Loving learning different ways to become involved with solutions for plastic problem .Networking with other likeminded inspirational people to gain impact on the situation.
United States of America
Surfing, sailing, diving, open ocean swimming, kayaking, and even living aboard her 28 ft sailboat Mi Corazon docked in San Diego…. NATALIE sees water as an integral part of her life and thus spurs her passion about its conservation and helping others fall head over heals in love with it like she is! With a love for womping in the waves comes a passion to keep the waves womp-able; thus Natalie founded 1Bag1World this past year with the mission to restore beauty to women and waves through plastic upcycling handicraft projects with women survivors of trafficking and abuse around the world, empowering them to be leaders in the wave of change to plastic free living in their own communities.
Natalie has a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy, licensed in California, and First Aid Arts training in the use of expressive arts for trauma recovery. As the San Diego branch Coordinator of the Wahine Project, she provides therapeutically minded surf clubs for girls struggling with poverty, family stressors, physical abuse, trauma, and trafficking in San Diego, Peru, Philippines, and Baja. She is looking forward to leading a team of Wahine women on a surf expedition to Cuba in February to bring the gift of surfing to the girls there as well. “I see fostering empowered relationships with the ocean as an opportunity for therapeutic healing for the individual. the community, and our water”.
Natalie hopes to bring the 1Bag1World creativity with plastic upcycling aboard the eXXpedition to find unique ways to eliminate the plastic waste of crew and locals we encounter. Through her travels she has learned that many small island communities don’t have the infrastructure to properly recycle so, she looks forward to getting creative with them about how they can reduce, reuse, and up-cycle their plastic waste to keep their oceans and bodies healthy and happy! Her time with the eXXpedition crew will be book ended with Wahine Project surf clubs in Cuba and sail-hopping her way back to San Diego brining the 1Bag1World message to coastal communities along the way. …..and of course if waves are found she’ll be the first to grab some boards to teach the crew and locals the art of surfing!
MARIKA has 5 years of experience in public affairs, working for a communications consulting firm as well as in both Quebec provincial politics and Canadian federal politics.
In the past year, Marika has become very interested in environmental issues and has taken steps to gain more knowledge and insight into them. A few months ago, she went diving for the first time (not the last!) in Thailand and it absolutely changed her whole world view forever. She gained a sense of how beautiful and important our underwater ecosystems are, and now feels a responsibility to do something to protect them. She’s had the chance since then to attend a conference by Sylvia Earle and her inspirational message has convinced her further that making conservation a central part of her life is something she needs to do.
Right now, Marika works for a public relations consulting firm in Montreal as a Project Manager and takes biology classes at University to deepen her understanding of conservation, ethical and animal welfare issues. She loves helping people tell their stories and aspires to one day be able to do just that for the causes she cares about the most.
Upon her return, Marika would love to offer professional public relations services pro bono for conservation and animal welfare organizations. She’d also like to spread the message in Quebec about “making the unseen, seen” through different communication methods: blog, web series, as well as government and community relations.
SARAH first fell in love with the coastal waters of British Columbia when she was eight and spent the summer with her family lighthouse keeping on Bonilla Island, located in Hecate Strait about 50 miles south of Prince Rupert. It was here, roaming the beaches, that she discovered the incredible biodiversity that can exist when ecosystems are left undisturbed. She would watch keenly and help as the lighthouse keepers took their readings and measurements. The experience remains a reminder of the rich splendour that the ocean has to offer.
Fast forward and for the last twelve years Sarah has lived on Quadra Island, part of the Discovery Islands off the inside coast of Vancouver Island.
Sarah works from home as a Jane-of-all-trades; raising her two daughters, 6 and 8, part-time home-schooler, sitting on multiple community boards, driving tractor trailers and answering phones for the family business. For fun she loves to be outdoors. As a triathlete, she prefers open water swimming because it is so liberating and there is always so much to see happening under the water.
An extroverted personality type, Sarah loves being around others and collaborating on ideas, always willing and ready to brainstorm, explore, expand and discover new ideas, concepts, and ways of seeing the world.
Maria is the latest addition to the crew. She graduated with a BA Hons in Fine Art from Camberwell School of Art & a Postgraduate degree in Art & Design Education from Goldsmith’s University, London. She is passionate advocate and lover of all things related to water. Maria’s work explores interactions between human manipulation of the natural world and vice versa trough the use of installation, sculpture, photography and film. By seeking human footprints upon water environments, and by using man-made objects that, subjected to randomly altering circumstances reveal hidden historicities, she questions our ability to identify and project knowledge backwards and forwards through time and space. Beachcombing and mudlarking the Thames has led to an obsession with plastic debris entering fluvial and marine environments.
Since the 2011 Japanese earthquake, Maria has been intensively following numerous research on the Great Pacific garbage patches and producing 3Dimensional artworks made from plastic collected from several locations in the Atlantic and the Thames. Maria has collaborated with various architects on environmental projects. These include the Biomimicry-based: ‘ecoMachines _World Dubai Marine Life Incubators’, with EcologicStudio & the Architects Association, culminating in a book publication in 2011. The brief was to design a series of purpose-built underwater structures using Biomimicry and computer technology, to encourage the growth, expansion and adaptation of a healthy coral reef connected by sensors to a Scientific Research & Education Centre. ‘Empooling Landscapes’, with the University of East London, dealt with the exploration of the long-term effects of salt crystals on different building materials within the marshlands of the Coto de Doña Aña National Park, in Andalucía. Her role as artist on the expedition will be to produce a series of artworks that, in response to the trip’s findings, highlight the disruptive effects of microplastics as hormonal disruptors to both humans, and marine organisms. Maria is working on various ideas that as well as conveying this poignant message, will utilise these samples as literal Fossilised Time-Capsules-artworks providing alternative ways of preserving information for future study.
Jen is a geographer and filmmaker fascinated by human-environment interaction. She has a BA in Geography (2:1) and an MSc in Environment, Science & Society (Distinction) from the University College of London. Her academic research explored environmental management and experience, film as an emancipatory tool for environmental education, as well as geographies of health and biological identity. She has been involved in several research, filmmaking and sport expeditions in a diverse range of roles. In 2009, she led a UCL-funded research expedition to British Columbia and in 2010 was a member of the Lost World Project documentary-making expedition to Venezuela’s Mount Roraima.
Following this expedition, Jen set up her film company, Your Frontier (www.yourfrontier.co.uk) to raise awareness of worldwide expeditions as well as social and environmental responsibility projects. She has since been Marketing Manager and Head of Media for several world-first expeditions including Row Zambezi (2011) and the Yangtze Adventure (2013). For the past year she has worked at the UK Energy Research Centre at the Oxford University Centre for the Environment, bringing together academic, industrial and political groups/individuals to bridge gaps in understanding and action around UK energy issues and climate change. She is also a Relationships Manager for Ibex Earth’s ‘Our World: Our Choice’ initiative, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of preserving global biodiversity and find ways to offer support to environmental and conservation charities including the Galapagos Conservation Trust, the World Land Trust and ZSL’s EDGE of Existence Programme.
She is passionate about health, well-being and outdoor fitness. She is a keen runner and paddleboarder, certified as a SUP and PaddleFit Instructor. She is also Co-owner/Operator of an environmentally sustainable outdoor recreation park in Canada called Windmill Lake (www.windmill-lake.ca) which she hopes will be a springboard for community health initiatives in South-Western Ontario. The mission and aims of the Atlantic eXXpedition hold personal significance for Jen due to the diagnosis, care and loss of several family members and close friends to cancer. She is very excited to be a part of this incredible project that will allow her to explore her own health, behaviour and relationship with the environment while encouraging others to do the same. She is passionate about producing a wide range of high impact film-based outputs from this expedition and showcasing them internationally through different forums. This is a unique opportunity to have a tangible impact on the communication and understanding of human/environmental health and she can’t wait to get onboard!
Laura Coleman is the Director of The ONCA Trust, an environmental arts charity based in Brighton. Laura is a graduate of the University of East Anglia and has a Masters Degree in History of Art from the University of York. She has worked for six years on grassroots conservation projects, predominantly in Greece, Spain, Norway and South America. In Bolivia she worked for Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi, rehabilitating animals rescued from black market trade.
On her return to the UK, she founded ONCA – One Network for Conservation and the Arts – with the view to setting up a space in which to explore ecology through art, storytelling and performance. The ONCA Gallery now runs programmes of exhibitions and workshops that initiate conversations and ask creative questions about our changing environment, whilst raising funds and awareness for frontline conservation projects.
As well as running The ONCA Trust and Gallery, Laura is an artist, curator, conservationist, teacher and explorer. You can find more information about Laura and ONCA at www.onca.org.uk.
Scientist, eXXpedition Co-Founder
LUCY is a professional changemaker with a Degree in Biology and Phd in Molecular Microbiology. Her career has spanned academia, government, grassroots activism and supranational policy making. Lucy has a life-long passion for tackling climate change and toxic pollution. Currently, she works for Brussels based NGO, Transport & Environment, tackling climate impacts and pollution from shipping and aviation. She has sailed on three eXXpedition voyages and continues to support the project as a technical advisor and ambassador for the cause.
Lucy was Mission Leader for eXXpedition Caribbean 2017.
Scientist and Communicator
Growing up on the Isle of Man, ROWAN was immersed in the marine environment from an early age. At the age of five, she learnt to dive and snorkel in the waters around the Island. These early experiences created an inherent interest in the seas and led to her study a degree in ocean science and a masters in applied marine science at Plymouth University. Now working as a marine scientist, Rowan is passionate about the health of our marine environment, and is excited to be part of a team of inspiring woman that want to spread the word about plastic pollution to a global audience.
Rowan is a UNESCO Isle of Man Biosphere Ambassador.
Environmentalist and Artisan
Through her travels and studies Ina learned about the pressing environmental challenges and became passionate about giving back by speaking up and taking action for nature and the ocean, raising awareness and inspiring the people she meets on her path to join the movement for a healthy planet and future.
Ina is a passionate traveler and loves the ocean. Hence most of her journeys are directed to where there is endless water and horizon. Being outdoors and especially at the ocean with all its beauty and hidden marine wildlife, inspires her to put a different view on (everyday) life. It struck her that despite all enchanting beauty, there was barely a place she traveled to, that is not threatened by (longterm) impacts from man-made pollution or exploitation. Be it the Andes, the Amazon, the Okavango Delta, the Andaman Sea or the Galapagos Islands to name but a few. So Ina changed from a casual visitor to an involved protectionist. She took a course on Antarctic and Marine Science and learned about life circles, pollution, acidification, climate change and other impacts on the ocean. Now she wants to get involved further and raise awareness so people will notice that their own footprint matters, but also that there is always something one can do to minimize the impact.
Ina is a Master of Environmental Science candidate, following a BSc in Human Geography and Business Administration. She was born and lived most of her life in Berlin, Germany before she moved to Switzerland where she works as an analyst and researcher in aviation.
Tanya is an aquatic scientist, turned story teller, championing the estuaries which have been lost to policy, regulation and peoples hearts and minds.
She has worked in estuaries and around the coast for 10 years. In addition to working on the coast, Tanya also lives on the coast and her main hobbies, diving, surfing and sailing, are based on water. Tanya spends a large proportion of her time on boats and is a powerboat and rib skipper and also volunteers for her local RNLI Lifeboat Station.
Tanya has become increasingly concerned about the amount of terrestrial litter that ends up in the marine environment. She does whatever she can to influence and improve people’s understanding of the impact pollution can have in the local area but she is now interested in looker at the wider context and issues and studying the interaction between marine litter and marine life. Tanya is confident that her time on board will be an invaluable experience that, in collecting information during the trip, could help shape the way we lead the way in the UK. In particular Tanya is keen to understand the UK context that the Thames sits within, working for the Port of London Authority and running the Cleaner Thames Campaign with partner organisation, this expedition will provide valuable insight into the challenges the Estuary faces and how the conversation to bring solutions can be formed.
Broadcaster and Journalist
Working Mum & Environmental Champion
VICTORIA is a BBC News journalist and television presenter with a personal interest in environmental affairs. She is a member of Global Women In News (GWIN) and a mentor to school children interested in journalism through the BBC’s School Report program. Victoria is looking forward to getting to know her fellow crew members better and learning about the journeys that have led them to Sea Dragon.
Nikkey is a freelance creative who lives on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, she can often be found in the kelp forests near her home.
She uses her work as a tool to connect people with the environment and has spent many years working in and with clients in the eco-tourism industry. She sailed as part of the eXXpedition North Pacific 2018 crew and started volunteering as eXXpedition Social Media Manager at the end of 2018.
Law Student currently working for ELSA Norway and working on Law Students Without Borders Worldwide and Norway
RIGMOR has not got much sailing experience except from a whole lot of ferries in the western part of Norway, and occasional fishing trips with dinghys. Nevertheless, she’s raised along the Sognefjord in Norway, and have always loved the nature and especially the ocean. Living in Kristiansand near the ocean for several years has also made her deeply passionate about the ocean. A course in surfing in Hawaii sparked an interest of surfing.
In High School Rigmor studied Biology and Anatomy/Physiology, and went along with one year of Biology at the University of Agder. After a couple of years working in nursing, she changed career path to Law, and is currently a second year Law student at the University of Agder. In the summer of 2015, Rigmor studied ‘Introduction to English Law’ at the University of Exeter. Rigmor also took a course by ELSA in Copenhagen ‘Media Law in the 21th Century’.
Rigmor hope to make up for the lack of sailing experience by being reporting and writing about the eXXpedition trip on social media and in her online magazine iiinspiratus.com.
She hopes to bring awareness to this hidden and underdiscussed topic – pollution and the use of plastics and the consequences it has on the ocean and in us humans. Rigmor want to inspire others to reduce – reuse and recycle plastic, but also find alternatives to plastic, such as bamboo – by writing and discussing the topic in her lifestyle magazine iiinspiratus.com and in social media. Additionally, Rigmor want to bring awareness about microplastic that exist in a lot of cosmetic products.
Rigmor would like to combine the passion for the ocean and Law in the future, and advocating for a healthy ocean.
Filmmaker and Photographer
A documentary filmmaker, photographer, mother, adventurer, environmentalist and swimmer, ELEANOR been making films for over 15 years, in challenging conditions all over the world. Her work has always focussed on the environment and people, and the impact that they have on one another. Often her work has been linked to the sea – from illegal fishing in West Africa and human rights abuses in the Thai fishing industry, to fish sustainability and pollution. Eleanor’s mission over the years has been to find the most effective and creative way of putting these stories across, to nudge people to see things differently and to bring about change.
Eleanor is currently making a documentary, X Trillion, about the North Pacific expedition.
Deborah is an activist, adventurer, artist, dancer, designer, environmentalist, explorer, vegan wild-camping walker who loves to play.
She worked as a Biochemist in UK for a number of years before taking time out to travel the world. When she returned to the UK, Deborah moved to a small community in North Wales where she raised her children. Following this, Deborah went back to college where she studied for a Foundation Degree in Art and Design, specialising in sculpture and mixed media using waste plastic, particularly marine plastic debris. She has used this to teach environmental awareness through art, particularly in youth settings.
For the past 12 years, Deborah has been walking and camping the British coastal trails solo and photographing art from marine plastics. Deborah’s ambition is to travel around the whole British Isles, and eXXpedition will allow her to do this from the seas. Deborah hopes to learn more about the effects of marine pollution on human health, using surveys, assessing results and their implications, to incorporate into her work as a health therapist and incorporate marine pollution research into her work as an environmental artist and teacher. Deborah is passionate about learning to sail and will kick-start her education with a RYA Competent Crew sailing course in May to prepare for the exciting task of all three Round Britain 2017 legs!
MEG is a PR Officer encouraging the public to be more conscious of the food they eat and waste, protecting our planet from harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Her area of expertise is in communications and marketing, using a variety of platforms to communicate messages to a wide customer base. Meg is joining eXXpedition North Pacific to gain first-hand knowledge of the extent of the plastic pollution problem, and take this experience with her into her future work.
Designer and Storyteller
SIRI spent a lot of time on sailboats while growing up – she loves being on the ocean and in the surf. As a designer based in Oslo, she is enjoying the long coastline of Norway. Her work involves developing brands, concepts and completing identity processes.
Siri believes in a starting point in research, insight and a curious mind, which might lead to pleasant surprises and sustainable solutions. Driven by personal motivation, she wants to use her expertise and experience within design and storytelling to contribute to a cause that’s close to her heart and affects us all.
Filmmaker and Activist
Filmmaker and founder of Plastic Free Aberporth. Owner of single use plastic-free holiday cottage in Wales.
GAIL runs her own wedding videography business which includes marketing, filming and editing but also has a background in marine science, with a degree in Chemistry with Oceanography from the University of Southampton. Gail has an ongoing interest in the marine environment and volunteers at the Teifi Marsh Welsh Wildlife Centre in Cardigan, Wales and has also provided support to vessel-based surveys of resident dolphin populations in Cardigan Bay where she lives. The marine wildlife of Cardigan Bay is under threat from pollution and disturbance in the conservation area and she is looking to understand more about could and should be done to protect our shores.
Gail has experience in racing dinghies in Indonesia and catamarans in UK inshore waters. Gail is now looking forward to expanding into yacht sailing and gaining some new experience. For Gail, eXXpedition provides an exciting opportunity to combine her passions for the outdoors and sailing while contributing to marine and environmental conservation. Gail is interested in helping people to help themselves improve their health and environment. She hopes to use her skills in filming, editing and in communications and outreach to spread the message about the importance of the marine environment and continue this outreach upon her return.
Organic Farmer and PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor
Katrina is passionate about the environment and our oceans, showing that she cares through her organic farming, PADI open water scuba teaching and participating in awareness raising and educational opportunities like eXXpedition.
KATRINA currently farms using draft horses and ecological practices in Huron County, Ontario.
Born and raised there, her love of nature was imbued from the get-go. Katrina’s passion for water and the aquatic world started in elementary school when she adopted a humpback whale in lieu of birthday gifts. She recently went a step further and became a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor with Float N Flag, to share her awe, passion and love of the aquatic world with others.
Committed to social justice, community building, and everything food, Katrina has worked in higher education, as a cook, in social change organizations, for governmental agencies and for businesses. With a focused interest in sustainability and building stronger communities, she keeps herself engaged by volunteering, travelling, running youth programs, cooking, and taking over her family’s farm.
Her interests are eclectic and diverse, spanning from road tripping to quilting and she is rarely found without a cup of tea. She has a passion for extreme sports and enjoys skydiving, downhill skiing, scuba diving and motorcycles to keep her adrenaline pumping.
Katrina holds a degree in Business and Non Profit Management from a small, liberal arts university where she minored in French.
Superyacht Charter Broker
Caroline lives in Mallorca and works as a superyacht charter broker. Having lived on a yacht for 7 years sailing all around the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Pacific and Indonesia, Caroline has seen first-hand the increasing effects of environmental pollution on our marine environment.
Combining a degree in Biological Sciences from Oxford University where she majored in environmental ethics and animal behavior, and her platform within the Superyacht industry, Caroline hopes to raise awareness of this growing problem in the marine industry and encourage prominent companies and figures in the industry to help effect regulatory changes to combat these problems.
Chair Surfrider Foundation Australia (Voluntary); International Flight Attendant / Qantas Airways (Part Time); Director of Planet Childcare
“I believe that we all live downstream and whatever actions we take now to protect our oceans, will benefit future generations. We are all one ocean and every positive action that we do will ripple out in a positive way”.
Susie is an environmentalist, mother and the first female Chair of the Surfrider Foundation Australia. Her role at Surfrider is in a voluntary capacity as she has a strong passion for protecting and conserving Australia’s oceans, waves and beaches. Her day jobs include being an international Flight Attendant and also a Director of a Preschool that she built for her children 22 years ago. Susie sits on three ‘not for profit’ environmental boards and spends her spare time organising beach cleans, campaigning for the ocean, and organising events that involve educating the community about keeping our oceans clean and preserving marine ecosystems. Susie enjoys connecting with like minded people and presenting at conferences.
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Paige is currently the Program Manager for Sailors for the Sea Powered by Oceana, an ocean conservation organization that engages, educates and activates the sailing and boating community to restore ocean health. True to her title of “Jill of all Trades”, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Arts degree in International Development & Social Change, with a concentration in Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation.
While in undergrad, she completed a project with a Maori community in New Zealand, where she grew to embody the ethos that humans are the protectors and guardians of the natural environment. Acutely aware of the impacts that climate change and plastic pollution are having on coastal communities, both in her hometown and around the world, Paige approaches these challenges with an optimistic embrace, leveraging youth voices to drive change.
Scuba Diving Instructor and Commercial Diver
Scubaholic working to better the management of marine and coastline sustainability.
AMANDA simply loves the outdoors, growing up North of 60 in Whitehorse, Yukon Canada. Whitehorse was named after the breath taking Rapids that resembled the flowing main of a white horse. The Yukon is mainly known for its rich history from the Klondike gold rush, today mining still remains an important industry. Amanda experienced first hand the world of mining threw her parents family business, and was always surrounded by natures simple beauty.
She is a High School Graduate, Dive master, equestrian rider, and sailing advocate, and developed a need to always be outdoors riding her horse and embrace every opportunity for adventure from a very young age. Her passion for the ocean began on a few family vacations to Maui, Hawaii, where she couldn’t get enough of the salt water and marine life while diving.
Through multiple outdoor and experiential school programs such as Class Afloat: an international school aboard a Traditional Tall Ship. The crew sailed the Great Lakes of Canada followed by two South Atlantic Crossings with many ports of call through the semester.
Amanda understood the great power of the seas and saw first hand the pollutants that were being dumped of the coast of under developed countries that simply could not afford to dispose of it properly. She gained her confidence to expand her goals to having a global impact once realizing the varsity and remoteness of the ocean.
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Her mother called her bossy growing up and Jessica ended up being quite the boss – yelling at the number 1 rowing team in America in both juniors and masters rowing. She was a prodigy child/Mensa invited child then decided to ditch University to travel.
She is Californian-born but has lived in London for about 16 years. She worked at an orphanage in Nepal, started a women’s empowerment series called the Woman’s Crush Wednesday Club and single-handedly started her own lifestyle PR agency in London which won a PR Agency of the Year Award called JPR Media Group.
She was impressed by eXXpedition founder Emily Penn and she is honoured to be accepted on this important mission to fight the plastic. She can’t wait to learn from all the other intelligent, inspirational women on this voyage.
Founder of Meaningful Recruitment
As founder of Meaningful Recruitment Katie connects with amazing individuals and organisations that are striving to make a positive social impact in our world. She provides career coaching to help them achieve their aspirations and runs campaigns to help organisations find the talent to help them achieve their visions and solutions that will benefit our communities and our planet.
The plastic crisis comes up time and time again with her clients and through her podcasts and time on the radio, much interest is being raised from her followers on how they can contribute to the solutions. She’s so passionate about bringing about change to rid our oceans of plastic that she’s travelled to Norway and connected with people such as Boyan Slat’s team of Ocean Cleanup in San Francisco.
Phoebe Smith is 18 years old and has just completed schooling with her Advanced Levels in Art, Biology and Geography. She has also completed an Extended Project Qualification in which she explored the issue of marine plastic pollution in the Bristol Channel, where she lives and sees pollution regularly.
At school she was the Environmental Officer and, along with 3 others, they started the Environmental Committee, which made a point of raising awareness within school of issues such as plastic pollution, getting people to consider the effects of their actions. This committee has grown in size and is now in its second year with a group of strong leaders.
Nancy developed a love for nature at a young age sparked by family trips to the coast and into the Australian wilderness. This led to a passion for scuba diving, sailing, and hiking. She holds a PADI Advanced Open Water certification and RYA Day Skippers qualification. She also developed a fascination in flight early on and so began a career as a pilot. During this career she has been involved in safety management and completed a Masters in Science and Technology. After a few years working and studying in a male-dominated industry she was inspired to help other women break down barriers. She became involved with a mentor and sponsorship program to help educate rural girls in Uganda. Through her visits to Uganda, she learned that education was the key to promote lasting change to an entire community and not just for the individual.
While she loves being outdoors immersed in nature, she became increasingly concerned about how much waste littered the earth and was devastated by its effect on wildlife. In a bid to reduce her environmental footprint, she made changes to her daily habits and, as her work involves traveling, she began studying Ecotourism. Still wanting to do more but unsure how she stumbled across an article about eXXpedition. She then obsessively read all she could find out about it. A vital cause championed by women with a fact-finding, solution-driven and educational based approach with sailing thrown in the mix. She just had to apply and is so excited to be on board. Nancy is hoping she can contribute to the research, find solutions and bring that knowledge back to her community to help make the “unseen seen”.
Mumma, Naturopath and Marine Science Student
Meegan is a passionate mother, environmental activist, health practitioner and marine science student. Meegan was taught at a very young age to love and respect our oceans and has always had a strong connection to the ocean growing up in nature, surfing and camping at the beach while living holistically- in harmony with our body and our environment.
She is passionate about ocean conservation and regeneration. Meegan spends most of her time engaging and educating her community about marine debris, the harms of plastic pollution and ocean conservation through Coastal Warriors Mid North Coast.
Meegan is ever the optimist and feels inspired to be the change the world needs and to teach her children, and other youth that together we have the power to make change for Mother Earth.
Meegan is thrilled to become apart of the solution based team that eXXpediton has created and can’t wait to share her experience with the world.
Communications and Marketing
Sofía is a passionate storyteller trying to change the world a bit at a time. She studied journalism for that precise reason, because she loves writing and making every word meaningful.
She’s also passionate about the sea and she strongly believes in protecting it. She grew up next to the Mediterranean sea and has been sailing her whole life and over the past few years, she’s been on a mission to reduce plastic waste, trying to persuade everyone around her to do the same thing.
She’s also a strong advocate for women’s rights. She collaborates with the International Women’s Initiative and she’s part of Clarivate Analytics’ women’s group working on promoting women in STEM.
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Marina is a PhD student at the University of California, Irvine. Her work focuses on the evolving ocean currents through time, and will work to map the global ocean conveyor belt as it shifts in our changing climate.
She is a longtime sailor, and has competed extensively in California and the rest of the United States in dinghy sailboats since she was eight years old. Always an educator, Marina spent the summer of 2019 in the Caribbean as a skipper with an organization that spreads a love and respect for the ocean to teenagers from around the world.
Her website, The Earth Year Project, challenges readers to make small changes in their everyday lives to reduce their impacts on our planet. With the eXXpedtion journey, Marina hopes to meet like-minded women and learn more about the world of environmental activism.
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Photographer & Marine Toxicologist
Jamie is a marine toxicologist turned photographer from Seattle, WA (USA). She photographs weddings, wrestling, political rallies and portraits. Her favourite is photographing pets; she lives with a wiggly dog named Mako Sharkpup who goes with her almost everywhere and loves cheese.
She has been interested in anthropogenic contaminants since university and she is grateful to be able to contribute to the efforts to curb ocean plastics. We have known about this for most of her lifetime and yet we are still contributing to the problem. In the US, the messaging is largely related to individual use, but she’s interested in addressing this problem at the production level – our approach needs to be multi-modal.
Architect and Educator
An architect, designer and educator, Lara has been teaching sustainability to artists and designers for over 10 years. Partnering with organizations such as Surfrider Foundation and 5 Gyres, her longstanding Rise Above Plastics class at Otis College of Design in Los Angeles has produced a multitude of creative projects, events and installations to raise awareness and influence behavior around the issue of single-use plastic pollution.
The Rise Above Plastics class is also a travel program where Otis students visit school children on the pacific coast of Nicaragua to educate them through interactive art and design activities about how plastic pollution discarded on their beaches is harming the sea life that they love so much and rely on as their primary food source.
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Lindsey Turnbull is a storyteller, historian, and youth empowerment professional. She founded MissHeard Media, a media and live events company that empowers tween and teen girls.
Freelance Event Producer | Part-Time Student | Actress
This sea-fearing landlubber dons multiple maverick guises: part creative – actor, director, scribbler; part organiser, producer; part ‘wholing-facilitator’.
Hailing from Johannesburg, South Africa, Chantal’s currently saturated in a Creative research Masters, investigating grief in the shadow of the Sixth Extinction. She believes that to change our global narrative we need to tell new stories. Personal experience creates resonance in others, and so she is seeking ways to communicate the enormity of the consequences of oceanic degradation on all Beings.
Environmental Science Graduate
Having recently graduated with a degree in environmental science Emily has become more aware of the problems facing our planet today. She is passionate about travelling because it allows her to experience different cultures and see some of the global issues she has learnt about in lectures.
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Barbara was raised on the North Shore of Massachusetts and some of her earliest and happiest memories are from time spent on the beaches on the eastern shoreline. Her father took her out sailing and fishing when they were young and she grew to love the ocean. About 20 years ago she moved to Marblehead, Massachusetts for the sailing and scuba diving. She has always enjoyed the outdoors and her spirit is never happier than when she is out on the water. She often tells people, insurance is her profession but sailing and gardening are her passions.
Head of Sustainability & Communications at Unilever Australia and New Zealand
With a strong belief in sustainable, purpose-led business models as a driver of long-term value creation, Alexandra (Alex) holds 10+ years experience across the UK/US/ANZ, helping organisations (private/public/nfp) build reputation, competitive advantage and mitigate risk through effective communication, advocacy and sustainable business design.
In her current role as Head of Sustainable Business & Communications, Home Beauty & Personal Care, Unilever ANZ, Alex is central to leading Unilever ANZ’s external engagement strategy and delivery of effective communication plans to protect Unilever’s corporate reputation and demonstrate how sustainability drives business growth, less risk, less cost and more trust.
Alex has also worked with Californian outdoor apparel company Patagonia, e-waste recycler MobileMuster, an urban greening initiative 202020Vision and sits on sustainability advisory groups for the Australian Food & Grocery Council and Australasian Packaging Convenant.
Having grown up in beautiful New Zealand and lived near the ocean her whole life, Alex loves keeping active, adventures, learning new skills and the great outdoors. She believes that with a love of wild nature, comes a sense of responsibility to protect it.
An accountant by training, an entrepreneur and community connector by choice, living in an island city, Aarathi believes that life is a journey worth learning. Her work includes curating events and content for families, children and the larger community, in an effort to break boundaries and strengthening bonds.
Aarathi felt compelled to join the crew because given the climate changes we have witnessed in these short 10 years, we no longer have the choice BUT to be interested in how we treat our waste, particularly in the way we dispose of plastics and other seemingly harmless materials that actually create toxic waste in our oceans and lands. As a member of our communities we all have to be bothered about how we can BE that change.
Aarathi is not a personality or anyone famous and you don’t have to be. She believes an opportunity like this offers regular citizens around the world, a chance to contribute toward a legacy that benefits all.
Surf and yoga instructor
Natalie is a surf and yoga instructor based in Portugal during summers and Morzine, French Alps in winters. She has travelled and taught her 2 passions around the world as Roxy fitness ambassador; in Morocco, France, Jersey, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica and New Zealand. She is currently in her second year studying a Masters of Sustainability with Anglia Ruskin University and The Eden Project.
She joined Surfers Against Sewage as a rep in 2014 and has taken part in hundreds of beach cleans over the last 10 years, sharing her environmental stories through Surf Girl Magazine.
Natalie is passionate about preserving and protecting ocean ecosystems, joining Sea Shepherd and Surfers for Cetaceans on campaigns in Antarctica, Faroe Islands and California. In 2011 she cofounded Women for Whales to highlight the plight of whale and dolphins, as well as the connection women often have to these sentient beings. She is now an “ocean plastics ambassador” for Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s #notwhalefood campaign and hopes to align her experience on the eXXpedition with her MSc major project, researching the effects of micro plastics on whales.
Police Constable - Authorised Firearms Officer
Kirsty Young is an Authorised Firearms Officer for the Ministry of Defence Police where she is currently putting her skills to good use within one of the forces specialist units.
Having been raised in Scotland it was only natural that she grew up with a great love of the outdoors and walking up mountains. After leading her friends to the top of the wrong mountain in the Brecon Beacons (then pointing to the mountain they should have climbed) they are hoping that Kirsty won’t have anything to do with the navigation on board S/V TravelEdge.
From a young age Kirsty found herself making waves in the male dominated world of Motorsport, in particular karting. She has had great success gaining two British Women’s Racing Drivers Club – Kart Championship titles as well as winning many races and titles against large grids of men.
Having spent the majority of her life thriving in male dominated environments Kirsty has become a strong advocator of empowering women and now enjoys spending her evenings volunteering at a local Brownie group with the aim of inspiring the next generation of women.
This will be Kirsty’s first time sailing and she hopes the trip will give her a better understanding of what damage has been done by plastic pollution and how she can become part of a solution that reduces it. She hopes her story will not only inspire women but also encourage everyone she knows to be more mindful of the damage they are doing to the environment and to always push themselves out of their comfort zones on adventures of their own.
Director and Co-Founder
As co-founder of eXXpedition EMILY has seen first hand how much plastic ends up in our ocean. She has spent the last decade exploring the high seas from the tropics to the Arctic – enabling scientists, filmmakers and interested individuals to gain access to the most remote parts of our planet.
She has organised the largest ever community-led waste cleanup from a tiny Tongan island, trawled for micro-plastics on a voyage through the Arctic Northwest Passage, rounded the planet on the record-breaking biofuelled boat Earthrace, and worked on a sailing cargo ship trading western supplies for coconuts.
Emily splits her time between running eXXpedition and developing upstream solutions to the ocean plastic issue with corporate partners, scientists and government bodies. An experienced public speaker, Emily gives talks around the world at conferences, universities and global companies about her adventures and issues relating to our oceans, human mindset and future society.
You can find more information on Emily’s projects at www.emilypenn.co.uk.