Jenna Valente

Participant: 2022 U.S. Grassroots Accelerator

Fostering a community of ocean lovers working to protect and restore ocean health through advocacy and education.




Affiliations & Roles

Director of Advocacy at Healthy Ocean Coalition

Jenna’s connection to the sea goes back generations and runs so deep that stewarding the planet in some way, shape, or form feels central to her and her family’s identity. Some of her relatives are or were ship chandlers, members of the U.S. Coast Guard, game wardens, watermen and women, regenerative farmers, and environmental policymakers. Between growing up surrounded by people with incredible environmental knowledge and being raised in Hawaii, Washington State, and Maine, following a path that led to a career in ocean advocacy felt like destiny.

Some notable points, or scenic overlooks, along Jenna’s career path were:
Graduating with her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication and journalism from the University of Maine in 2011
Participating in a series of internships working with endangered and threatened populations of shorebirds like the piping plover at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia.
Those internships led to a park ranger position. During that time, she lived on the wildlife refuge and often would wake up to find wild horses roaming around her yard.
Completing a communications fellowship with the Chesapeake Research Consortium stationed at the Chesapeake Bay Program in Annapolis, Maryland where she helped draft the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement and fell in love with telling conservation stories and celebrating people that are taking care of the environment and their communities.
Graduating from Virginia Tech with her Executive Master of Natural Resources degree in 2015.

Jenna joined the Healthy Ocean Coalition team in 2015 as Coalition Coordinator, and now serves as the Director of Advocacy where her passion is centered around empowering individuals and organizations to learn more about natural systems, the impacts humans have on those systems, and bolstering an ethic of stewardship, conservation, and social responsibility.
She is dedicated to building support for just conservation policies because she believes in the power of community and has seen the progress that can be achieved when policies and plans are inclusive and reflective of those they will inevitably impact.

Outside of her role with the Healthy Ocean Coalition, Jenna is a dog mom, photographer, and hosts the Sea Change Podcast, where she highlights the complex and inspiring stories of ocean lovers and coastal conservation advocates. She also is a poet, bookworm, record collector, avid journaler, and baker.