Hermina Glass-Hill, MHP

Whale Week Director

Hermina Glass-Hill is an eco-harmony advocate, ocean conservationist, and cultural historian who is committed to protecting the ocean’s biodiversity, bringing coastal communities into deeper reflections about our ocean heritage, and fighting for justice for our neighbors on land and under the sea. This includes the endangered North Atlantic right whales who have been migrating from Canada to the warm waters off the Georgia coast for thousands of years. With less than 330 North Atlantic right whales in existence, we all must do our part to protect North Atlantic right whales.

“In addition to climate change, ocean acidification, and threats to food sources and habitats, the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale population also faces human-caused threats that is pushing this species on the verge of extinction: entanglement and vessel strike. We need to reverse this. In Savannah, Georgia, Whale Week is an annual opportunity to bring all members of the community (artists, writers, musicians, students, parents, schools, faith leaders, and others) into awareness and action to protect North Atlantic right whales, Georgia’s state marine mammal.”

Hermina Glass-Hill is the founder of the Susie King Taylor Women’s Institute and Ecology Center, administrator of the M.K. Pentecost Ecology Fund at Savannah Presbytery, and the Georgia field representative at Oceana, one of the largest global non-governmental organizations committed to protecting the world’s ocean and feeding communities.

CJ O’Brien

Whale Week Program Manager

CJ O’Brien is a scientist, ocean conservationist, and plastic policy expert who’s love and curiosity for the ocean developed at a young age growing up in Florida. Her plastic pollution research has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, she’s contributed to winning campaigns that reduce single-use plastic at the source, and managed Whale Week for the past 3 years. 

CJ earned a master’s degree in Development Practice from Emory University with a focus on Environmental Conservation and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). As a part of her master’s practicum, CJ served as Oceana’s Georgia Field Intern, where she led a winning campaign, that urged Emory University to commit to eliminating unnecessary single-use plastic by 2026 through signing the “Break Free from Plastic” Pledge. Emory became the first university to do so in Georgia and is Oceana’s first official Plastic-Free Zone in the United States. In Georgia, she also advocated for the protection of endangered North Atlantic right whales.

CJ has a B.S. in Biology from California Lutheran University. Her honors thesis explored the impacts of plastic on the digestive enzyme activity in marine mussels. CJ also studied abroad in Zanzibar, Tanzania with the School for International Training (SIT) where she studied the impacts of plastic in the Stone Town Harbor area. You can find her SCUBA diving, exploring new places, and making memories with friends and family.