The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) protects and manages 13 sanctuaries and one marine national monument. Important habitats like breeding and feeding grounds, coral reefs, kelp forests, and historical shipwrecks are represented within the system of marine sanctuaries. ONMS works with the public and federal, state, and local officials to promote conservation while allowing compatible commercial and recreational activities.
Multicultural Ocean for Life students conduct a beach clean-up as a stewardship activity during their field study to Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
Twenty-eight high school students from six countries in the Greater Middle East and 12 locations across North America, including American Samoa and Canada, participated in Ocean for Life, an initiative to increase cultural understanding through ocean science. NOAA's Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary hosted the students during their field study in July. Assisted by National Geographic photographers and American University film students, the participants took 54,000 photos and countless videos to document what they learned and developed five "youth media projects" that will help them share this knowledge to promote ocean conservation and cultural understanding. This program is a partnership between NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) Program, SCUBAnauts International, and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
NOAA maritime archaeologist Kelly Gleason investigates an intact ginger jar at the Two Brothers whaling shipwreck site at French Frigate Shoals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
In fiscal year 2011, maritime heritage archaeologists working with NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries found the nationally significant wreckage of a famous 1800s Nantucket whale ship, Two Brothers, on a reef off French Frigate Shoals, nearly 600 miles northwest of Honolulu, in the remote Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. This rare archaeological discovery is the first of a wrecked whaling ship from Nantucket, Massachusetts, the birthplace of America’s whaling industry. Two Brothers was captained by George Pollard, Jr., whose previous Nantucket whaling vessel, Essex, was rammed and sunk by a whale in the South Pacific, inspiring Herman Melville’s famous book, Moby Dick.
The Channel Islands Naturalist Corps volunteer program is named the Take Pride in America Outstanding Federal Volunteer Program during an award ceremony.
The Channel Islands Naturalist Corps volunteer program was named the Take Pride in America Outstanding Federal Volunteer Program in fiscal year 2011. Take Pride in America, a nationwide partnership program authorized by Congress to promote the appreciation and stewardship of our nation's public lands, hosts an annual event to honor excellence in volunteerism. The Channel Islands Naturalist Corps was recognized for its impact in the Channel Islands region. Jointly coordinated by the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and the Channel Islands National Park, the program engages over 140 volunteers who are specially trained to educate passengers on whale watch tours and island hikes. Volunteers also attend community events where they engaged with over 300,000 people annually and take part in citizen science such as collecting marine mammal sighting data.
Cheryl Oliver, NOAA Preserve America and Gateway Manager, shows Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator an interactive kiosk within the Gateway to NOAA exhibit that asks the visitor what they are doing to be green.
In February, NOAA hosted special guest presentations by deep-sea explorers, hurricane hunters, extreme weather forecasters, and oil spill responders at its Silver Spring, Maryland, campus as part of NOAA Heritage Week. The week also marked the opening of Gateway to NOAA, a permanent exhibit about how NOAA takes the pulse of the planet and manages and protects ocean and coastal resources. Located just steps from the Silver Spring Metro Station, the exhibit and all NOAA Heritage Week events are free and open to the public.
Jessica Watson, California State University Monterey Bay, gives the OK sign during her dive training in preparation for Aquarius 2010: If Reefs Could Talk.
In October 2010, ONMS hosted a joint research and education mission entitled Aquarius 2010: If Reefs Could Talk. The mission, sponsored by AT&T and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, brought the science of ocean conservation and the underwater world to the public via live Internet broadcasts. Throughout the mission, staff from ONMS and the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and university partners worked together to assess long-term environmental change and fish behavior through 650 hours of science saturation excursions, 250 science dives from topside operations, and 250 hours of in-water support provided by Aquarius Reef Base and ONMS staff. This science helped to provide content for 34 shows that were broadcast in both English and Spanish, including 18 point-to-point interactive broadcasts that were beamed directly into schools and aquariums across the country.