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  • Writer's pictureIntelliReefs NanoTech Team

"My Ocean Activism"

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

Kat Hickey, Media Guru


"My most profound spiritual encounters have unfailingly occurred exclusively in the presence of the sea."


"...When I am laying on my surfboard... after making it past the wave break, all alone and surrounded by the deep blue calm, aware of all the marine life bustling below me, this is when I feel the most at peace. A few years ago, I was freediving in Kauai and stumbled upon a playful green sea turtle in a reef. We swam around each other, almost dancing, studying one another until my physical limits called me back. It was one of the most magical experiences I have ever had. I felt like I met my spirit animal that day. Experiences like that contributed to my pursuit of marine conservation and science. My heart belongs to the ocean, and I feel an intense responsibility to protect its inhabitants. After what I feel like was an initiation from this sea turtle and other marine creatures, I feel an even stronger obligation to help the marine community and I won’t give up, I can’t give up.”

Our newest team member Kat Hickey is an ocean activist and will be helping us with kelp identification, spreading what our team is accomplishing through social media, designing and writing blog posts & newsletters, website management, and more.


Kat has always possessed a thirst for knowledge in all matters pertaining to science and the Earth. Having been raised in Utah, she consistently experienced a sense of being "land-trapped," prompting her to seize every opportunity during her high school years to journey to the ocean by car, even if it entailed sleeping in her vehicle to remain near the beach. When at the ocean, Kat loves to surf, snorkel, find and identify seashells, and pick up trash at public beaches. During her time in Utah, she swims laps in her mermaid tail, surfs behind boats in mountain lakes, and identifies freshwater specimens in streams and rivers for her amusement.


Kat recently graduated in the spring from the University of Utah, attaining a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sustainability Studies with a specialized focus on Air, Water, and Health, complemented by a minor in Geography. She has had an intense drive to help the ocean for as long as she can remember, and in turn, has dedicated her life to doing everything she can to help save our seas. Kat volunteers for several local environmental grassroots organizations advocating to save local water resources such as the Great Salt Lake.


Holding the highest volunteer position in the Utah Chapter Sierra Club as the elected Conservation Committee Chair, Kat leads monthly meetings, manages other volunteers, and helps to identify which issues need legislative action. She enthusiastically participates in protests and marches within downtown Salt Lake City as a member of many local organizations dedicated to safeguarding our planet.

Prior to assuming her role at IntelliReefs and Reef Life Foundation, Kat worked in a laboratory, contributing to endeavors in both the realms of biomolecular testing and toxicology analysis. This small-scale scientific involvement is directly connected to her comprehension of the profound influence coral reefs, though encompassing only 1% of the world’s marine habitat, wield upon the entirety of the ocean.


The ocean functions as an extensive laboratory, and the anthropogenic inputs it receives trigger a snowball effect that can detrimentally impact organisms like coral polyps and kelp, thereby compromising the well-being of the entire marine ecosystem. Recognizing this, Kat concluded that dedicating herself to the restoration and preservation of coral reefs stands as one of the most impactful contributions she can make in her life's mission to safeguard the ocean. Welcome aboard, Kat!



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