Thank You, Ocean: A Message from our President and CEO

Photo credit: Michael Schilling

Dear Friends, 

My message this year is simple: Thank you, ocean.  

Early this year, I lost one of the most significant people in my life, my mom. She was a force of nature. She always believed there was more work to be done to make this a just world. My mom gave me my love for our ocean, and she passed along her passion to fight, for it and the people that rely on it. 

When we lost her this summer, there was only one place that I wanted to go to bring me comfort: the ocean, experiencing the beauty and magic that only it holds. 

The ocean and Great Lakes offer us so much. Indeed, life on Earth would be impossible without them. The diversity of life in our ocean and Great Lakes is a blessing, providing a bounty that sustains the world. Yet, it may be the intangible gifts that the ocean and Great Lakes give us that I am most grateful for – the smell of salt air, the sun glistening off Lake Michigan, and awe of breathing under water and watching fish swim around a coral head, feeling like I am part of a secret world. 

For all of this, thank you, ocean. And, thank you, each of you, for your support of national marine sanctuaries and helping protect these treasured places.  

I hope you and your family have a restful and peaceful holiday season. 

Best wishes, 




Kris Sarri, President and CEO
National Marine Sanctuary Foundation