Giving Thanks: A Message from our President and CEO

Photo credit: Peggy Langford

Dear Friends,

On January 21, 2021, Amanda Gorman stepped up to the inaugural podium in Washington, DC, and read: “The Hill We Climb.”  Her words called us to a better future, to face challenges with resilience, grace, and a sense of shared responsibility.

Her words stayed with me. As we begin this holiday season – one I hope we can share safely with family and friends – I want to thank those individuals and communities who climb the hill to create a better future for our planet and humankind.

Thank you to the leaders, advocates, scientists, and businesses worldwide who are addressing climate change, especially its impact on the most vulnerable communities.

Thank you to youth across the globe who are raising their voices for climate justice. We need your creativity and passion to both envision and achieve a better world.

Thank you to the communities working together to create new protected areas for the good of the planet and all of humanity that relies on biodiversity. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the National Marine Sanctuary Act in 2022, I am grateful for the vision to protect these spectacular seascapes and species for future generations.

Thank you to Violet Sage Walker, who shared the term “thrivability” with me. To sustain our ocean is not enough. We must work to make it thrive for everyone equitably. It is a gift to be given a new way of thinking.

Thank you, Maya Angelou, for “On the Pulse of the Morning,” which through the simple words “good morning” acknowledge that each dawn is an opportunity.

Thank you to all of the speakers and advisors who took part in Capitol Hill Ocean Week this past June. They shared their wisdom and knowledge with all of us to build a more just movement for our ocean and Great Lakes.


As Amanda Gorman wrote in “Ode to the Ocean”

The story of the ocean and the story of humanity
Are one and the same, a Great River that
Knows no borders and notes no lines,
Only ripples.
While we might call it the Seven Seas,
Today we sing out your true name:
The one ocean.
For no matter how we try to separate your waters,
You are the colossus that connects us….

…May we sing out the ocean’s survival and revival.
Being the people of this blue planet is our most
Profound privilege and power,
For if we be the ocean’s saviors,
Then it is surely ours.


Happy Thanksgiving!




Kris Sarri, President and CEO
National Marine Sanctuary Foundation