Clean Ocean Action

Clean Ocean Action Staff


Cindy Zipf

Executive Director



Cindy Zipf uses her passion for science and advocacy to create campaigns and programs to drive public policy and reduce pollution.  Since its beginning in 1984, she has been at the helm of COA, the lean, green, ocean pollution fighting machine that is the only full-time ocean advocacy organization dedicated exclusively to the NY and NJ region. She reviews and evaluates regional, state, and federal policies for impacts to marine water quality and, through science, research and education, works toward solutions for issues of concern.

Cindy is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a B.A. in Geography and Marine Affairs with a special emphasis in marine science. In 1984 the waters off the NY/NJ coasts were known as the “Ocean Dumping Capitol of the World”, and in response, the COAlition was formed and consisted of 20 organizations. As a founder and a staff of one, Cindy has expanded the coalition to over 120 organizations and a professional staff of six full-time employees.

Cindy's complete bio, recognitions and awards can be viewed here. 

Mary-Beth Thompson

Chief Operating Officer

Mary-Beth Thompson provides leadership in COA’s general office management, human resources, financial recording and reporting, and federal and state legal and insurance compliance. She began as a volunteer with COA in the 1980’s and in 1992 was offered the position of Business Manager. Prior to COA, Mary-Beth worked as a financial administrator in north Jersey and for several Monmouth County businesses. She graduated from Monmouth University in 1980 with a BA in Art and a minor in Business. Her husband and three sons are avid all-year-round surfers and active volunteers for COA.

Mary-Beth's complete bio can be viewed here.

Amanda Wheeler

Education and Volunteer Coordinator

Amanda Wheeler joined the COA staff in an official capacity in February 2016; although, her volunteer relationship with the organization began over 20 years ago. Over those years of volunteering, her passion for a clean ocean has kept her in a contact with ocean pollution issues and their solutions. She has been a Beach Sweeps Captain in Bradley Beach for almost all of those years and has spent time working on regular programs like C.O.A.S.T. tables and the Student Summit. As a longtime environmental commissioner in Bradley Beach, she has organized projects and events in cooperation with many environmental groups and has organized volunteers for those projects. In June 2015, Amanda retired from a 32 year teaching career. Her diverse experiences during those years ranged from teaching French and Spanish in a small rural high school on the Front Range in Colorado to teaching basic skills to incarcerated youth in a correctional facility. In June 2015, she retired after teaching French and Spanish for over 20 years at Reynolds Middle School in Hamilton Township, NJ.

Joining the team at Clean Ocean Action as the Education and Volunteer Coordinator is a "dream come true" for Amanda. In this role, she can cultivate the passion and enthusiasm of volunteerism, and she can continue to inspire young people to become environmental stewards. 

Catie Tobin

Microplastic Researcher

A graduate of Quinnipiac University, Catie holds a BS in Biology with minors in Chemistry, Spanish, and Microbiology. She studied the environmental impacts of pollutants, BBP and acetone on a local fish species and as an intern at the Dolphin Communication Project she researched the social behavior and acoustic interchange in a dolphin species.

Starting at COA as a Fellow in 2013 and quickly moving to the position of Marine Science Program Manager, Catie was the link between citizens, businesses, academia and science. While currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Environmental Science at the University of Massachusetts Catie will continue her work for COA through microplastic research. 

Swarna Muthukrishnan

Staff Scientist

Swarna Muthukrishnan received her Ph.D. in Environmental Science at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India, a Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Florida and attended the Certificate Program in Biological Wastewater Treatment at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft, The Netherlands, She has many years of experience in research and development, analytical techniques, laboratory and field investigations, sampling and monitoring methods, quality practices (QA/QC), scientific data analyses, scientific communication, monitoring and management of innovative treatment technologies and best management practices (BMPs) in water, wastewater, stormwater, sediments, soils, and reclaimed water.

Swarna's extensive experience and previous employment as an Environmental Scientist at the EPA in the Urban Watershed Management Branch, Water Supply, and Water Resources Division in Edison, NJ makes a tremendous addition to the already phenomenal COA crew. 

Tory Woods

Development Director

Tory Woods started as a dedicated volunteer and joined COA’s fulltime staff in July of 2014. She uses her background and expertise to connect COA’s mission and programs to events and resource development. Tory engages and organizes the fundraising events and sponsorships, corporate and foundation relationships, concerned businesses, and community development. 

She has experience in outreach, sales and fundraising, and event planning. Tory graduated from the University of South Carolina with BS in Environmental Science with a focus on sustainable businesses, economics, and development. Tory also helped implement community programs to create environmental awareness and social change, recycling programs, and education events in Columbia, SC.


Gordon N. Litwin, Esq.

Of Counsel

Andrew Provence, Esq.

Of Counsel




18 Hartshorne Drive, Suite 2
Highlands, NJ 07732
Voice: (732) 872-0111
FAX: (732) 872-8041

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