I want to help preserve these marine environments so that 50 or 100 years from now other kids and adults can experience the ocean the way I have.
If you ask Jessica Frascotti, she learned to swim before she could walk. Since she was a child Jessie has nurtured a deep love of the ocean, an appreciation that has become her lifelong passion. She’s been snorkeling in the U.S. Virgin Islands since the age of twelve, returning to dive in the same spots off the island of St. John each year.
However, in 2011 when she returned to her beloved island and its surrounding waters, she knew the reef was struggling. Jessie was troubled by how much the coral had changed and how few fish she saw when snorkeling.
It was on that trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands that Jessie realized she wanted to pursue a career in the field of ocean conservation. She later went on to study abroad at the School for Field Studies on South Caicos, a small island in Turks in Caicos, where she studied tropical marine ecology and researched the behavior of spotted eagle rays.
After graduating from Holy Cross in 2015 with a degree in marine biology and environmental science, Jessie returned to the island of St. John once again, where she began working as an eco-tour guide providing kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding and hiking tours. She also educated tourists about the native fish, plants, coral and wildlife species on the island and how visitors could help preserve these different species and ecosystems.
In addition to working as an eco-tour guide, Jessie also served as a first mate on several charter boats and helped design a coral restoration program. After two years working on St. John, Jessie returned to the United States where she began her career at Clean Ocean Access in January 2018.
As the program coordinator Jessie hopes to educate people on the challenges our ocean faces and be the voice of change in a community that can be a leader in sustainability. She brings five years of experience in marine and environmental science program management, as well as environmental science education. Jessie is a PADI certified divemaster and holds a United States Coast Guard 50 ton Captain’s license.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Needham, MA and grew up spending summers in Martha’s Vineyard where my love for the ocean began.
What is your first memory of the ocean?
My parents had me in the ocean since I was a baby and I was no older than 5 or 6 when my mom and dad bought me my first snorkel mask. I remember immersing myself in the water and immediately seeing little fish including a small puffer fish at State Beach in Martha’s Vineyard. From that day on I spent most my summer days in the ocean.
What is your favorite ocean activity?
Scuba diving and snorkeling are my two favorite ocean activities. There is something so special and breathtaking when I get to swim with turtles, sharks, eagle rays, and all kinds of fish all in their natural environment.
What motivates you to work in ocean conservation?
I want to be able to share these experiences and the beautiful ecosystems we find in the ocean with future generations to come. In my lifetime of 25 years I have already seen drastic change in the spots I use to swim and snorkel as a child. I want to help preserve these marine environments, not only to help sustain life on the planet, but also so that 50 or 100 years from now, other kids and adults can experience the ocean the way I have.