From Concept to Conservation, Leading by Example

When Ocean Notion was founded the goal was simple, put an end to disposable plastic cluttering our oceans. Ocean Notion was co-founded by three University of Rhode Island Students, Martin Naro, Tristen Rodgers, and Peter Mitchell. As Ocean Notion began to develop, there was an overwhelming problem, after each beach cleanup, there was more trash. With each event we removed an exorbitant amount of litter, but each time we returned there was the same amount of refuse, sometimes even more. This was an extremely disconcerting problem. The solution? Expand the volunteer base and identify the root of the problem. 

After six months of research and development, Ocean Notion was ready to face the problem head on. In just six short months the executive board set up a Rhode Island branch with seven positions and a volunteer base of over 120 people. In just four short months the Executive team, working in conjunction with the employees of the Rhode Island branch, have raised over $120,000 in funding from donations and grants. Co-founder and Director of Operations Martin Naro, is at the helm of the Rhode Island Branch. “The Rhode Island Branch is our first official operating branch which is funded by the non-profit,” Naro Said. “Developing a strong structure for our employees to thrive is essential. The Rhode Island Branch will serve as a blueprint for other branches to adopt and work off of.” The Rhode Island Branch has held monthly beach cleanups and several fundraising events to raise awareness about ocean pollution. Naro is currently working closely with several companies in New York and Massachusetts to sponsor fundraising events this spring and summer. 

Peter Mitchell, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer had an essential role in developing the Ocean Notion Corporate Watchlist. The watchlist provides an outlet to expose corporations who are engaging in irresponsible recycling methods. Mitchell is currently executing a new program to transition the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry over to a more effective standard of recycling. Mitchell said, “The QSR restaurant industry is blatantly exploiting the lack of enforcement surrounding recycling violations. It has become an integral part of Ocean Notion’s mission to expose these companies, and then provide transition services.” Mitchell is currently in the process of developing connections to allow an easy and cost-effective transition for these companies. “Lack of education and enforcement regarding recycling will soon be a thing of the past once this program is implemented nationwide,” said Mitchell. 

As Ocean Notion begins to develop and spread throughout the country, Co-founder and President of the Board, Tristen Rodgers isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty to maintain Ocean Notion’s strong mission. Rodgers has also had a very hands-on role within the Rhode Island Branch. Whether it be aiding in program development, or lending a helping hand at fundraising and cleanup events. Working with Nyssa Sky, Vice President of the Board, Tristen has developed an Ocean Notion standard, which consists of honesty and transparency. “The overwhelming majority of our members are a volunteer, ensuring that as much funding as possible is utilized for ocean conservation. ‘I couldn’t be happier with the direction of the company, it's so heartwarming to see the amount of people who have come out to support the cause for environmental conservation,” said Rodgers. Sky has proven crucial in maintaining recycling standards during cleanup events. “The most important part of the cleanup process is what happens after the refuse leaves the beach. Without proper recycling, many of the materials could end up in landfills or back in the ocean, rather than being processed and reused. That's, why we are certain every volunteer, is educated on proper recycling standards,” said Sky.

Ocean Notion is leading by example to change the public impression of pollution within our society. To learn more information or to get involved, make sure to visit their website and sign up for the newsletter.