W2O Fact Sheet


Women Working for Oceans (W2O) was created by a group of determined Boston based women who believe that education about the health of our oceans can inspire action and advocacy. In partnership with the world renowned New England Aquarium, its conservation team and scientists, W2O aims to elicit thoughtful consumer decisions that protect the fragile oceans from overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction, and climate change. This group of spirited ocean-loving women brings a hopeful, positive message so others are empowered to make meaningful behavioral changes within their own communities and encourages them to become a part of the important movement to save our ocean.


W2O has produced sold out educational events, built a solid membership base, established community action groups to eliminate plastic waste and continues to engage with legislators and community leaders on topics such as saving the endangered North Atlantic right whale and other vulnerable marine life, defending Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) such as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. We also work to reduce single use plastic through local legislation.

Past Events

  • Windows to the Sea-National Geographic underwater photographer Brian Skerry
  • Plastic in Our Oceans, Plastic in You-Plastic Pollution Coalition’s Diana Cohen
  • Roadside Assistance-Driving Change on our Streets and in Our Oceans-panel of car experts including Herb Chambers, Ray Maggliozzi (NPR’s Click and Clack), Scott Griffith (Zip Car), Eric Evarts (Consumer Reports) all moderated by Lisa Hughes (award winning journalist and TV anchor).
  • Take Only Photographs, Leave Only Footprints-Marine Scientist, Randi Rotjan and underwater photographer, Keith Ellenbogen
  • Women emPowered: Leading the Future of Clean and Efficient Energy with speaker and moderator Tom King (Exec Director and President of National Grid USA). Panelists included Kateri Callahan (Pres. Alliance to Save Energy), Ann Berwick (Chairwoman Mass Dept. of Public Utilities) and Kevin O’Connor (host of This Old House).
  • The World Beneath the Waves: Being Human in the Sea presented by environmentalist Celine Cousteau
  • Wendy Benchley and NEAQ senior scientist John Mandelman’s Shark’s Matter: Busting the Jaws Myth with a New Script on this Majestic, Misunderstood Creature
  • Water Rising: The Impact on Humanity with National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz’s powerful images and the basics of the science behind rising seas by Union of Concerned Scientists analyst Erika Spanger-Siegfried
  • Boston Waters Rising with Robbin Peach, Manager of Resiliency, Massachusetts Port Authority and Dr. Ellen Douglas, UMass Boston’s School for the Environment
  • Heroes of the Oceans: A State House citation award ceremony to honor those citizens that have helped pass bills banning single-use plastic pollution. Co-hosted with the Massachusetts Sierra Clu
  • Beeps, Rumbles and Blasts: How Ocean Noise Threatens Marine Life with Dr. Christopher Clark, Cornell University and Dr. Scott Kraus, New England Aquarium
  • The Heart of Hope: The Quest to Save our Seas with Ocean Country Author Liz Cunningham: One Woman’s Voyage from Peril to Hope in her Quest to Save the Seas
  • THINK BIG: A passion lived. An ocean saved. Sri Lankan marine biologist Dr. Asha de Vos, National Geographic Explorer and New England Aquarium Marine Conservation Action Fund (MCAF) Fellow

Through social media and the group’s website, www.womenworkingforoceans.org, W2O spotlights current news and environmental trends such as sustainable living, clean energy, environmentally friendly technology and climate change. W2O holds more intimate educational events for members to dive deep into topics such as sustainable seafood, exploring art as a catalyst for communicating the ocean message and workshops about ocean science and advocacy.


Founded in 2010 by Barbara Burgess and Donna Hazard, the women of W2O work energetically with an ocean passionate board of 18 women from the Greater Boston Area. Burgess, trustee of the New England Aquarium and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, has a degree in education from the University of Vermont. Hazard, Chair of the New England Aquarium, has a degree in Biology from Princeton, an MBA from Harvard and a masters from Harvard Extension School’s Sustainability and Environmental Management Program. This group shares a common bond: they have the ocean in their souls and strive to keep it healthy for their children and generations to come.

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