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The 4th annual NOAA Ocean Discovery Day was held March 26, 2011. Staff from NOAA Fisheries, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, National Weather Service, Sea Grant, and the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network showed off their work and entertained guests with activities and information.

A special feature this year was a mural painting project coordinated by Sanctuary Advisory Council member Jacqui Stanley. Jacqui painted a mural of the sanctuary that was then divided into sections so that visitors could select a section to reproduce themselves. All of the visitor-painted pieces were then assembled as a new mural.

An historical tour of the NOAA Fort Crockett facility was also provided by the Galveston Historical Foundation.

The following pictures highlight activities captured by Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary staff throughout the day. These same photos were also posted to our Facebook page during the event so that online visitors could participate as well.

Click on a picture below to see a larger, hi-resolution image
Photo credits: FGBNMS

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Sanctuary Displays & Activities
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Two people talking in front of a table-top display about Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Jennifer Morgan talks with Jesse Cancelmo in front of the sanctuary display.

Three people talking in front of a display about how we monitor the reefs in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
A high school volunteer talks to visitors aobut how we monitor the sanctuary.
Several people gathered around a poster display of manta ray identification photos.
Jesse Cancelmo talks to visitors about the manta catalog, a visual identification system for manta rays in the sanctuary.
A NOAA Corps officer in a khaki uniform talks to a father and his two children at a display about the NOAA Corps.
LTjg Marc Weekley talks to visitors about the NOAA Corps.
A man wearing funny glasses and a backwards ballcap stands behind a table full of objects made from recycled materials.
Sanctuary volunteer Fred Rose demonstrates some of his artistic creations made from recycled materials.
A man wearing an apron and a backwards ballcap shows two people one of the recycled art objects from the table between them.
Fred Rose talks to guests about reusing waste materials to create art.
Large sea lion character costume poses next to a large dolphin character.
Wendy Tabone talks to visitors about plankton designs at the Sea Grant table.
 A sanctuary volunteer and two children doing an activity at a table.
Student volunteers from Dawson High School in Pearland, TX pose with Sanctuary Sam at the end of their shift.

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Fisheries Displays & Activities
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A visitor enters the NOAA lab facility through the main gate and is greeted by a staff member.  Another staff member is seated under a red pop-up tent just behind them.
Craig Hayslip and John Regini greet an Ocean Discovery Day visitor at the main entry gate.

A young man looking into a microscope set on a table next to a computer.
A young man looks at fish scales under the microscope.

Two visitors look at a fish sample in jar.  Beyond them are several posters of deep sea fishes.
Two visitors examine deep sea fish samples at a NOAA Fisheries display.
Two men stand looking into a large, round container set on the ground next to a boat on a trailer.  Several buildings are visible in the background.
Juan Salas explains the drop sampling display to a visitor outside one of the NOAA Fisheries office buildings.
Looking down on marsh grass and sediment inside a large cylinder.
Marsh grass and sediment on display inside a drop sampling form. This is what guests saw when they looked into the display pictured above and to the right.
Two visitors leaning over a tray on a table and picking out small creatures with tweezers.  A third person stands behind the table to oversee the activity.
Heather Seiler explains what visitors are finding in the sample picking trays on the table in front of her. Items in the trays are typical of what Fisheries workers will find when doing their drop sampling in the marshes near Galveston.

Three people talking at a display showing ROV video footage on a table-top monitor.
Ron Hill talks to visitors about how Fisheries uses ROVs to examine habitat and assess fish populations.

A sign directing people to the Sea Turtle facility.  The sign includes a picture of a sea turtle and an arrow.
A sign points the way to the Fisheries Turtle Barn on Ocean Discovery Day.

People walking down the side of a road leading away from the camera.
Visitors make the short hike to the Turtle Barn to visit with the loggerhead sea turtles under NOAA's care.

Two high school students sit at a table under a white pop-up tent just inside the gate to part of the NOAA facility.
Two volunteers from Dawson High School greet visitors to the Turtle Barn area.

Three people stand talking at the inside a building just inside an open garage-type door.
Two adult volunteers get a briefing from Cain Bustinza at the Turtle Barn as Ocean Discovery Day begins.
A large warehouse type building with rows of open tanks full of sea turtles.  Several people are wandering between the rows to view the sea turtles.
Visitors wander through the Turtle Barn at the start of Ocean Discovery Day.
A sea turtle swimming in the corner of a holding tank.
A two-year old loggerhead sea turtle at the NOAA Turtle Barn in Galveston.
Two people standing in front of a display about NOAA sea turtle research.
Lindsey Howell explains how the loggerhead sea turtles raised at the Turtle Barn are used to help test Turtle Excluder Devices.

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Sanctuary Mural
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Colorful mural of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary showing corals, fish, a sea turtle, and a manta ray.  The mural is divided into squares by a series of strings hung vertically and horizontally in front of it. Each square has a post-it note with a number on it.
An original mural of the sanctuary by artist Jacqui Stanley. This mural was the template for a painting activity during the event.

Looking over the shoulder of a woman painting a square for a larger mural.
A visitor paints a square from the mural.
A busy room full of people painting at tables and looking at colorful photographs of fish on the wall.
The mural activity room was a busy place during Ocean Discovery Day. All 162 squares of the mural were completed.
A long table covered in a white cloth with paintings drying on top.  A woman stands at the far end of the table, bent over a list of artists.
Staff member Marissa Nuttall notes who did which pieces of the mural as they lie drying on a table.
Walk-around character Sanctuary Sam stands next to a wall with some painted squares displayed on it.  The squares are part of a larger mural that is just being pieced together.
Sanctuary Sam poses with the visitor-created mural early in the day.
A young girl works on a painting along with an adult helper.
A young artist gets some help from a friend as she paints one of the fish in the mural.
Painted sections of a mural mounted on a wall.  Not all of the pieces are present yet, so it's difficult to tell what the full mural will look like.
The mural at mid-day.
A young boy wearing and very large t-shirt to keep paint from getting on his clothes.  He is standing just behind his artwork at the end of a table full of painting supplies.
An over-size t-shirt protects a young artist from stray paint as he works on his piece of the mural.
Lookng down the length of a table covered in plates full of paint, partially painted pictures, and hands with paint brushes.
All of the visitors had fun with the brilliant colors used to paint the mural.
A woman standing at the far end of a long table looking over several paintings to see if they are dry.
Staff member Emma Hickerson checks pieces to see if they are dry and ready to hang on the wall.
A large mural on the wall has been pieced together one square at a time throughout the day, and is nearing completion.  You can now identify the manta ray at the center of the mural.
The mural is nearly finished at 2 p.m.

A close up view of the manta ray section of a pieced together mural with some pieces still missing.
The colors and details of the mural were interpreted differently by every artist, but together created a wonderful display.

Original sanctuary mural created by Jacqui Stanley
Original mural with strings separating it into 162 square sections.
Finished visitor mural created with 162 separate sections.
Finished mural made of 162 separate paintings that correspond to the squares outlined in string on the original mural.

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NOAA Partnersblank space

Two bright red rescue trucks sit just outside a large blue building.  These are labeled in white lettering as Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network rescue vehicles.
TX Marine Mammal Stranding Network rescue trucks parked just outside their new facility at NOAA.
Several table displays set up in front of an indoor pool used for marine mammal rehabilitation.
TX Marine Mammal Stranding Network educational displays sit in front of their new rehabilitation pool.
One woman painting a dolphin on another woman's cheek.
Face Painting was a popular activity at the Marine Mammal Stranding facility during Ocean Discovery Day.

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