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Orange County Coastkeeper seeks to infuse its staff with people from diverse professional backgrounds and finds it beneficial when staff members are role models for future generations. Coastkeeper’s newest hires will help further the organization’s mission of protecting the region’s water resources to keep them swimmable, fishable and drinkable. 

Michaela Coats, Suzanne Welsh and Armita Ariano bring an abundance of experience and love for the environment, which will be essential in their work. We welcome you to meet each of these amazing women joining the team.

Michaela Coats, Coastkeeper’s education coordinator, was born and raised in Orange County. She received her Bachelor of Science in environmental studies from University of California, Santa Barbara in 2018, and her Master of Science from the University of California, Irvine in 2021. Prior to working at Coastkeeper, she worked at several nonprofits providing education programs to local youth. She loves the water and she loves kids, so leading Coastkeeper’s education programs is the perfect fit for her.

“I believe that educating people, especially youth, about the region’s water is an essential first step in ensuring the protection and conservation of this precious resource,” said Michaela. “As education coordinator for Coastkeeper, I’ll be able to share my passion for marine environments with local students, helping shape the next generation of water warriors.”

Suzanne Welsh, Coastkeeper’s volunteer coordinator from Newport Beach, was furloughed during the California’s COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. In that time, she worked for California State Parks as a volunteer coordination assistant before returning full time to Orange County Coastkeeper in July 2021.  She is in charge of coordinating public and private beach cleanups, as well as coordinating Coastal Cleanup Day for Orange County. 

“I’m passionate about community involvement in our public lands,” said Suzanne. “Getting folks outdoors and active in caring for their communities, whether through a monitoring program or through a beach cleanup, is truly important in terms of public engagement in land management and in preserving the health of our local ecosystems.”

Armita Ariano, Coastkeeper’s newest staff attorney working on environmental litigation, spent three years practicing entertainment law honing her transactional and negotiation skills at United Talent Agency and Pilgrim Media Group. Armita is active in her local community and serves as a member of the Sierra Club in Los Angeles County, where she advocates for the just transition from fossil fuels to clean and sustainable energy practices. 

When we hold our governments and businesses accountable for their impact on our region’s water quality, we are better able to sustain our local ecosystems and protect our communities,” said Armita.

Our new additions to the Orange County Coastkeeper staff bring a blend of experience and willingness to learn new things. They are passionate about advocacy and teaching others to care for the region’s waterways. 

“I’m looking forward to working more closely with these three talented women as they integrate, or re-integrate, into the Coastkeeper team,” said Garry Brown, founder and president of Orange County Coastkeeper. “They each bring diverse experiences and backgrounds to the team which will help us continue to protect the state of your water in the region.”

With ample enthusiasm, strong experience, and a commitment to clean water, it is a team YOU can be proud of. We’re all in on the same fight to keep the region’s water fishable, drinkable and swimmable!