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Historic Expeditions    Secrets of the Gulf Expedition


The National Association of Black Scuba Divers hosts an annual Youth Educational Summit to get kids excited about the ocean, scuba diving, and marine conservation.

For the second year in a row, the group visited with Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary staff and participated in activities in the Galveston area.

This year's activities included water sampling from R/V MANTA, kayaking with Artist Boat, trying out the simulator at the TAMUG Maritime Academy, several Juneteenth events, oyster reef restoration with Galveston Bay Foundation, surf lessons with Galveston Surfrider, diving and exploring at Moody Gardens, visiting with Freedom School, touring Island Aquaponics and a community garden, learning science in a lab at UTMB, and visiting Stringfellow Orchard in Hitchcock.

A great time was had by all!!

Following are photos from the June 17-22, 2013 NABS-YES adventure with Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

Click on any picture below to see a larger, hi-resolution image. All images should be credited to FGBNMS.

June 17, 2013 - Water Sampling from R/V MANTA

Young man securing the ends of a niskin bottle for sampling.
One of the ways students took water samples was using a "niskin" bottle. Here a student set the bottle for deployment.
Girls pulling up a niskin bottle from the water after taking a sample.
Another student pulled a successful water capture on board.
Two students pouring a water sample from a niskin bottle into a small jar.
A sample of the captured sea water was poured into a container for analysis.
Students sitting on a bench on the deck of a boat near a CTD carousel.
Helping sample water at depth the hi-tech way--using a CTD carousel. Students waited safely to one side while the captain got ready to hoist the CTD into the water.
Two young students wearing hard hats and talking on the radio.
These students monitored communications between the back deck and the dry lab for CTD operations.
Students sorting through a tub full of water and sargassum.
Dr. Michelle Johnston helped students discover the different kinds of sea life hiding in sargassum found in the Gulf of Mexico.
Small pipefish in a clear jar full of seawater.
Two pipefish were found in the sargassum, and later released.
Student pointing at floating lifesaving ring behind the boat.
On the way back to Galveston, students practiced a Man Overboard drill, learning to point a finger at the "victim" (in this case, a life ring) until he/she is recovered.

June 18, 2013 - Kayaking with Artist Boat

Students kayaking in a marsh area with tall grasses in the background.
Students kayaked in Galveston Bay to explore the marshes.
Students kayaking near some marsh grasses.
Bins on the back of the kayaks contained materials for watercolor painting.
Looking over the shoulder of a girl as she sits on the ground and works on a watercolor painting.
Part way through the kayak adventure, students paused to create watercolor paintings of the local scenery. 

Two people standing together to show off their watercolor paintings.
Michelle Johnston posed with a student to show off their finished artwork.
June 19, 2013 - Juneteenth
Crowd of people at the Ashton Villa Juneteenth celebration on the lawn.
NABS YES attended the Juneteenth celebration at Ashton Villa. All of the bright blue shirts in the back are NABS YES participants.
Group of NABS YES participants dressed in matching t-shirts and standing with Geraldine Sams.
Before things got going, NABS YES students met former La Marque city mayor Geraldine Sams.
A woman reading a proclamation and holding a microphone.Galveston council woman Cornelia Harris-Banks, standing with Mayor Rosen, read a proclamation declaring June 19, 2013 NABS YES Day in Galveston.
A framed proclamation from the City of Galveston.
The NABS YES Day proclamation from Mayor Rosen.

An actor dressed as a Union soldier reads aloud the Emancipation Proclamation from a podium.
A re-enactor read General Order No. 3 as part of the Juneteenth ceremonies.

A NABS YES group photo on the steps of Ashton Villa.
The whole NABS YES group posed for a photo on the front porch of Ashton Villa after the event.
Three students pose with a Jack Johnson statue in a park.
After Ashton Villa, the group headed over to Jack Johnson Park for a picnic and some free time.
Students gathered around a picnic table in a park.
A little free time was enjoyed by all while a local band provided music.
Buffalo soldier re-enactors standing in front of the Galveston County Courthouse steps.
The final Juneteenth activity of the day was to see the Buffalo Soldiers read the proclamation in front of the Galveston County Courthouse.
Four Buffalo Soldier re-enactors standing with an American flag in front of courthouse steps
Two of the Buffalo Soldiers shared stories of what life was like during segregation in the military and of the only woman ever to serve with the Buffalo Soldiers.
Buffalo Soldier re-enactors leading a parade of people away from the courthouse.
The Buffalo Soldiers led the 3 block march from the courthouse to Reedy Chapel.
People walking up to the front of a church.
Reedy Chapel AME was the first African American church in Texas.
Harriet Tubman re-enactor performing inside a church.
"Harriet Tubman" paid the crowd a visit, sharing history in a remarkable way.
Two students holding up a quilt in front of a church audience.
A local student also presented her Underground Railroad quilt and explained how quilts were used to assist slaves in their escape from the south.

June 20, 2013 - Oyster Reef Restoration with Galveston Bay Foundation

Man holding a snake found in the marsh where he is standing.
While getting ready to start an oyster reef restoration project with the NABS YES group, the project leader from Galveston Bay Foundation found a Gulf Saltwater Marsh Snake.

Students passing bags of oyster shell from one to the next to load them on a boat.
The first step toward oyster reef restoration was to unload all of the oyster bags from the trailer...
Students loading bags of oyster shell onto two small boats.
...and load them onto the boats. All the extra weight made the boats bottom out so they had to be pushed into deeper water.
Students gathered around a pile of oyster shell sacks they just unloaded by the water.
Whatever wouldn't fit in the boats on the first trip, was stacked by the water for next trip to the reef site. At least 5 trailer loads of oyster shell were moved and placed on the reef that day.

June 20, 2013 - Surf Lessons with Galveston Surfrider

Student lying on surf board on beach while instructor explains surfing technique. Other students stand nearby watching.
Instruction started on the sand with the kids learning how to position themselves on the boards and do pop-ups. 
Woman covering her head with her arms as she talks to a group of students gathered around her.
Michelle Johnston also reminded the kids about the best way to fall!
Two students surfing--one standing and another lying down on a separate board.
Every so often one of the kids managed to stand up and ride a wave to the beach. Some were content to ride in lying down.
Students standing on beach holding a bucket for collecting trash.
While some of the kids were surfing, others were cleaning the beach. Surfriders emphasize the importance of caring for the environment as well as enjoying it.
Close up image of a jelly lying on the beach.
A few jellies also made an appearance. Some on the beach, some in the water.
Sargassum lying on the beach at the surf line.
As the day progressed, more and more sargassum began to wash up on the beach. By evening, the gulls were feasting on anything they could find in the washed up algae.

June 21, 2013 - Diving & Exploring at Moody Gardens

Two students looking out at the topside of the Caribbean exhibit at Moody Gardens as a staff person talks about it.
Five NABS divers were allowed to dive in the Caribbean exhibit of the Aquarium at Moody Gardens. Here they are being introduced to the topside of the exhibit.
A student in a locker room area with dive gear slung over one shoulder.
Then it was time to select appropriately sized dive gear for the adventure.
Two divers wearing hoods with shark fins on top. One hood is also shaped like a hammerhead shark.
Michelle and one of the NABS divers opted to wear fun dive hoods with shark fins up top.

Three divers in full gear standing in the topside entry pool of the Caribbean exhibit at Moody Gardens.
The Caribbean exhibit has a nice shallow lagoon from which divers can easily enter the exhibit.

A group of divers in full gear standing in the topside entry pool of the Caribbean exhibit at Moody Gardens.
Elizabeth, the Moody Gardens dive supervisor, gave a few last minute pointers before the students started their dive.

Scuba divers face down in the water at the top of Moody Gardens Caribbean exhibit, waiting to dive down.
The entry lagoon made it easy to watch for sharks before diving it in. No need to startle the sharks or the divers!

Two divers in the Caribbean exhibit at Mooyd Gardens looking out at the guests.
After diving all around the Caribbean exhibit, the divers came up to the glass tunnel to interact with guests on dry side.

A diver wearing a hammerhead shark-shaped hood and holding out a handful of sharks teeth for aquarium guests to see.
Michelle showed guests some of the shark collected during the dive. A few of the non-diving NABS participants can be seen reflected in the glass.

June 21, 2013 - Visiting Freedom School

Kids running around in a gymnasium.
NABS and Freedom School students started their visit with a rousing game of sharks versus minnows.
A man speaking in front of a group of students seated on a classroom floor.
Sam Collins III then spoke to the group about nearby Stringfellow Orchard and advised students how they should build their futures.
Students showing scuba equipment to other students seated on the floor in front of them.
NABS students talked briefly about their dive at Moody Gardens earlier that day and showed Freedom School students their dive gear.

Large group of students posed in the back of a classroom.
At the end of the visit, all the students posed for a group photo.

June 22, 2013 - Stringfellow Orchard
Sam Collins III speaking by microphone from the front porch of Stringfellow Orchard
Sam Collins III welcomed the group to Stringfellow Orchard, an former slave plantation in Hitchcock, TX.
A gentleman explaining paintings displayed on the front porch of an historic house.
A local artist talked about his art on display inside and outside the plantation house at Stringfellow Orchard.
A group of people inside a wood paneled room decorated with art representing African American history.
The group toured the old plantation owner's home which is undergoing restoration. Artwork displayed throughout the house tells about African American history.
Sam Collins III talkikng to a group of students inside one of the wood-paneled rooms of an historic house.
Sam Collins III is the man behind restoration of this old plantation home. He talked to the students about how to be successful as human beings.
Students standing outside an old wooden barn that looks like it is about to collapse.
Students took a quick tour of the property around the plantation home, including a look at this original barn.
An old wooden wagon wheel leaning up against the trunk of a tree.
An old wagon wheel rested against one of the many live oaks scattered across the property.

weather report observations cool stuff get wet

Juvenile blue tang (fish).  Bright yellow body with irridescent blue marking around eye and at top edge of dorsal fin.
+ National Marine Sanctuary logo - a stylized whale tail above waves