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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 23, 2007

Contact:  Mary Jane Schramm, (415) 561-6622, ext. 205
Sarah Marquis, (949) 222-2212

Farallones Marine Sanctuary Awards Youth for Oiled Seabird Science Project

This week, the staff of NOAA’s Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary presented its Young Marine Scientist award to 7th grade student Reylon Yount of the Chinese American International School in San Francisco for his entry in the 25th Annual San Francisco Middle School Science Fair, held at the Randall Museum. Farallones sanctuary education coordinator Carol Preston judged the fair entries.

“The sanctuary program is dedicated to encouraging the next generation of scientists, and Reylon is a wonderful example of a young scientist whose work deserves recognition,” said Farallones sanctuary superintendent Maria Brown. “We are proud to present him with this award, and hope he continues to follow his interest in marine science in the future.”

For Yount’s winning biological sciences project, “Bird Dip,” he tested five different liquids to determine which is most effective at cleaning motor oil from bird feathers. Yount formulated his hypothesis, obtained the needed materials, demonstrated his procedures, processed the raw data, and formed his conclusion. The project was highly relevant to the Farallones sanctuary, which is known as the “bird and mammal sanctuary” because of its rich biological resources including a quarter-million breeding seabirds and thousands of marine mammals, many of which are at risk to potentially lethal fouling by oil from the thousands of vessels that travel through sanctuary waters each year.

In addition to the award, Yount will have the opportunity to participate in an official Farallones sanctuary Beach Watch shoreline monitoring exercise, in which he will utilize research equipment that accompanied the award, including seabird identification guides for live and beachcast (dead) birds, a marine mammal guide, photo scale and other coastal monitoring tools. Beach Watch, which was the first volunteer program in NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program, is a congressionally recognized coastal monitoring effort in which highly trained volunteers, under scientists’ supervision, perform regular, methodical documentation of natural and human-caused events along the North Central California coast.

Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary comprises more than 1,200 square nautical miles of nearshore and offshore waters beyond San Francisco’s Golden Gate. The sanctuary, designated in 1981 because of its rich biological diversity, extends from Bodega Head in Sonoma County, south to the waters off the San Mateo County coast. The sanctuary is a feeding ground for a quarter-million breeding seabirds – more than any other area in the contiguous United States. It contains vital nursery and spawning habitat for fish and shellfish. At least 36 species of marine mammals have been observed within its borders, including endangered species such as blue and humpback whales. The sanctuary protects these resources through conservation, research, education and public stewardship.

NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program, which manages Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, seeks to increase the public awareness of America’s marine resources and maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. Today, the sanctuary program manages 13 national marine sanctuaries and one marine national monument that together encompass more than 150,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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On the Web:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: http://www.noaa.gov

NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov

NOAA Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary: http://farallones.noaa.gov

Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association: www.farallones.org

 

 

 

 

 

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