Hillary Hauser is co-founder and executive director of Heal the Ocean, an internationally recognized citizens’ action group in Santa Barbara, California. The formation of this 3,000-member group is the culmination of the 40-plus years Hillary has been working in, on, under, around and for the ocean, including being on-staff of Skin Diver Magazine in the late 1960s and working as a publicist for DEMA during DEMA’s earliest days.
Hillary started diving in 1966, got certified in 1968 (NAUI card #54990), when she became Skin Diver Magazine’s assistant editor, working with Paul Tzimoulis, Jack McKenney, Connie Johnson and Art Smith to put out the magazine every month. In 1977 Hillary became publicist for the Diving Equipment Manufacturers (now Marketing) Association (DEMA), and came up with the bumper sticker program, “Discover Diving,” a label that went on to become a major promotional jingle in the dive world, as well as a title to a magazine.
Hillary’s has published six books about the sea, as well as numerous articles about underwater adventure for National Geographic, the Los Angeles Times Sunday Travel section, Esquire, Redbook, Geo, Readers Digest, The Surfer’s Journal, among others. She was West Coast stringer for Ocean Science News (Washington, D.C.) and a reporter on ocean issues for the Santa Barbara News-Press.
In August 1998, in response to the terrible situation of local beaches being posted closed because of pollution, Hillary published an editorial in the Santa Barbara News-Press, which resulted in a public demonstration that motivated her to form Heal the Ocean. The organization focuses on wastewater technology as it impacts the ocean, facilitating wastewater treatment plant upgrade and removal of septic tanks from creeks, marshes, bays and beaches. Heal the Ocean’s trailblazing work, which has helped coastal communities not only in Santa Barbara, but all over the world, has been commended with recognition from the U.S. State Senate, as well as Resolutions from the Central Coast (California) Regional Water Quality Control Board (2006, 2008) and the California state assembly (2009).