Name: Jennifer Kennedy
Age: 37, although most days I feel like 27
Location: I live in Eliot, ME but work in Portsmouth, NH
Occupation: Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation and the Marine Life Guide for About.com
When Jennifer Kennedy was a child, her parents gave her a book on whales. Her mom wrote on the inside, “Hopefully you’ll get to see some of these in person on a whale watch someday!” As an adult, Jennifer gets to rub flippers with whales on the many whale watches she goes on as the co-founder and executive director of Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation. In her job for Blue Ocean Society, she gets to be a whale watch naturalist for Atlantic Fishing & Whale Watching in Rye, New Hampshire, while also helping to conduct educational programs and beach cleanups. You would think that a job at the helm of a non-profit would be enough, but Jennifer is also the Marine Life Guide for About.com. By writing articles for About.com, Jennifer is able to share her knowledge of the ocean and its inhabitants with people all over the world.
Growing up in Hilton, New York, Jennifer and her brother were often on their family’s boat during the summer. This time spent outdoors and on the water helped to foster her love of nature and marine life. Although she didn’t know what she wanted to do as soon as she left college, she was guided by this passion. Jennifer wound up working on a whale watching boat in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and also completed a whale research internship at the Whale Center of New England in Gloucester, Massachusetts. “I stuck with the whale watch boats. Eventually a fellow intern, Dianna Schulte, and I had collected lots of whale data in a little-researched area, and wanted to do something with it, so we started our own non-profit organization, Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation,” Jennifer remembers. “As we got busier, I started taking on more of the outreach tasks, and my partner started doing more of the research tasks. I love to teach, and to write, so when I was looking for ways to do more of that a couple years ago, I applied for the position at About.com. It allows me to teach a wide audience on a broad range of subjects, and to continue to build my knowledge that I can apply to my “day job.” And, boy, is teaching about all of marine life an overwhelming idea!”
Being on the water and learning about the aquatic environment around her fascinated Jennifer, and it’s a curiosity that hasn’t waned. “I’ve been whale watching sixteen years now and while I’m only on the boat a few days a week, each trip is still just as exciting,” she says.
Her days are spent with her family and her jobs. She will often write blog posts or articles and then check in on the Blue Ocean Society office. She may go on a whale watch, help out on a beach cleanup, or facilitate an educational program such as the one where Blue Ocean Society brings a life-sized whale fin to schools or camps. At the end of the day she’ll answer email and be in touch with other members via Facebook and Twitter. At the core of her life is her family though, and she spends as much time as she can with her husband, her four-year-old daughter, and her two dogs.
Other than growing Blue Ocean Society’s donor base, and reaching out to more supporters and partners, Jennifer strives to expand and develop the scope of her organization. “I hope our research program becomes stronger and we can share with the public and other scientists the fascinating information we’re finding out about whales in our area.”
For fostering interest and investigation in our oceans, and for having a whale of a job, Jennifer Kennedy is one Cool Girl!
You can check out Jennifer’s work with the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation here: www.blueoceansociety.org
And be sure to read up on marine life at About.com’s Guide to Marine Life here: http://marinelife.about.com