Heidi Ronje Whitehead

Heidi Ronje Whitehead
Heidi Ronje Whitehead
Heidi Ronje Whitehead, an honor graduate of Brazoswood High, in the class of 1998, was inspired by her freshman Marine Biology class at Brazoswood and it sparked her interest in marine life on the Texas gulf coast and waters beyond. As a matter of fact, Heidi was so influenced by her Brazoswood science teachers that she had a dolphin and the environment insignia placed on her Brazoswood senior ring.

Heidi chose to attend Brazosport College to continue her science studies and to remain close to the Texas Gulf Coast that she had grown to love. Heidi first studied and had a career in dentistry until one day, while working for a local hospital, Heidi went down during her lunch for an Earth Day event. It was there that she discovered the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network where she first found out about the work that existed to assist dolphins and other sea creatures.

From there, Heidi became a trained volunteer; volunteering as much as she possibly could until she realized that this was where she belonged. She started part-time as the office manager of the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network to education coordinator and eventually became the regional stranding coordinator for the Galveston area, then taking on the state operations coordinator position in 2005. This led Heidi to her current position as the Executive Director for the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network (TMMSN).

As the Executive Director of The Texas Marine Stranding Network, Heidi is world renowned in her field. She has given speeches for conferences in Canada as well as the United States.  Recently she was flown to Alaska to help save a baby beluga whale. The TMMSN is under the umbrella of NOAA and the National fisheries. The network is responsible for all mammal strandings along the entire Texas coast. The sole purpose of the TMMSN is to rescue, rehabilitate the marine mammals, and educate our communities about the lives of the mammals throughout our oceans and seas. The Texas Marine Stranding Network is a nonprofit organization. Heidi has dedicated her life to this network. She is on call 24 hours a day.

The Texas Marine Stranding Network works extensively with the United States Stranding Network, and the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program through National Marine Fisheries Service. Through these partnerships, Heidi and her team of professionals and volunteers have learned and shared a great deal of information regarding the bottlenose dolphins as well as other marine mammals.

Heidi Ronje Whitehead has authored and co-authored more than 17 peer-reviewed publications contributing to marine mammal science and has developed and led countless scientific meetings and workshops, and presentations nationwide. Heidi has been recognized for her passion and commitment to marine mammal conservation through the NOAA Environmental Hero Award program, and Exemplary Service Awards from the National Marine Fisheries Service. Her work has expanded the science world’s knowledge and understanding of marine mammals and their relations with other sea creatures, but most importantly, their interactions with humans.

Heidi and her husband Christopher, a volunteer with The Texas Marine Stranding Network, reside in League City, but they spend many hours in and around the Gulf Coast.
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