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Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary staff participate in a variety of outreach events throughout the year.

Below are some of the highlights from community and school events in 2014.

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


Tiger Shark Tracking
December 2014

Madeline, a tagged Tiger Shark, was reported to be in the vicinity of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary by OCEARCH Global Shark Tracker.

Map showing tracked location of a tiger shark in the sanctuary
This map from the OCEARCH website shows the latest tracking location for Madeline near West Flower Garden Bank.

November 20-22, 2014

CSI: Dallas was the theme for the 2014 Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST). In keeping with the theme, the NOAA booth participated in a collaborative "Game of CLUE" activity with other informal education sites and hosted a Manta Mystery activity in the exhibit hall. The NOAA booth featured educational materials from oceans to atmospheres and was staffed by National Weather Service (NWS), Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS), Teacher at Sea (TAS), and Department of Commerce Space Commericalization Office (SCO).

People visiting the NOAA booth at a science teacher conferenceDennis Cain (NWS)and Jason Kim (SCO) talked to visitors at the NOAA booth at CAST 2014.(Image: Tom Oglin) Three men working the NOAA booth at a science teacher conference
Dennis Cain (NWS), Chris Mindnich (SCO) and Jason Kim (SCO) worked the NOAA booth at CAST 2014.
(Image: Tom Oglin)
A life size cutout of pop star Psy wearing a laminated image of a manta ray
A cutout of pop star Psy assisted with the Manta Mysteries activity run by FGBNMS in the exhibit hall.
A life size cutout of actor Jim Carey wearing a laminated image of a manta ray
A cutout of actor Jim Carey also helped with the Manta Mysteries activity.
Two women, one holding a book and the other in scuba gear, standing in front of a Flower Garden Banks display at a science teacher conference
Dana Clark (TAS) and Kelly Drinnen (FGBNMS)pose with a Teacher at Sea book being given away at the NOAA booth. (Image: Tom Oglin)
A women dressed in scuba gear standing in front of a Flower Garden Banks display at a science teacher conference
Kelly Drinnen (FGBNMS) wandered around the exhibit hall in Scuba gear a couple of hours each day to encourage people to dive into science education with NOAA. (Image: Tom Oglin)

Galveston Monthly Article
October 2014

The October 2014 issue of Galveston Monthly featured an article from NCCOS' Alicia Clarke regarding the 3-year study of the Flower Garden Banks.

Image of online magazine article about the sanctuary in Galveston Monthly

Galveston Daily News Front Page
September 29, 2014

Galveston Daily News featured FGBNMS on the front page with an article about the recent NCCOS report sharing the results of a three-year study of the sanctuary at all depths, not just the reef cap.

Front page of the Galveston Daily News from September 29, 2014

Houston Matters News Story
September 9, 2014

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary was featured on Houston Public Media's KUHF radio station as part of the Houston Matters broadcast. Reporter Edel Howlin produced a nice mix of commentary and interviews with sanctuary staff to give listeners a taste of this Gulf treasure.

Fish circle a diver as he surfaces near a boat
Fish circle a diver surfacing near a boat. (Image: FGBNMS/Hickerson)

Guest Column on Coral Spawning
August 31, 2014

Bill Kiene submitted a Guest Column to the Galveston Daily News to report on the annual mass coral spawning at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

Image of article about coral spawning in Galveston Daily News

KHOU News Story
June 11, 2014

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary was a news highlight on KHOU TV, Channel 11, Houston on June 11th. The story and a video of the newscast can be found at

Bill Kiene and news crew on bow of R/V MANTA
Bill Kiene standing at the bow of R/V MANTA with the KHOU camera crew for an interview.
Image from KHOU news broadcast on TV
An image from the live broadcast about Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary on KHOU TV.

May 10, 2014

This Galveston event at Stewart Beach marked the one-year anniversary of the designation of the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle as the State Sea Turtle of Texas. The original designation was accomplished by a group of students from Oppe Elementary in Galveston.

Two women at a tale under a tent on the beach
Shelley DuPuy and volunteer Jenn Idema staffing the Flower Garden Banks tent.
A woman standing behind a table holding sea turtle artifacts
Susan Lewis, a volunteer, staffing a sea turtle information booth for NOAA Fisheries.
Two small kids running through a simulated shrimp trawl with a turtle excluder device
Kids running through the miniature Turtle Excluder Device (TED) in the sea turtle obstacle course hosted by FGBNMS.
Two boys burying ping pong balls in pine litter while their parents watch
Kids burying "eggs" at the end of the sea turtle obstacle course.
Sea turtle crawling across beach toward sargassum at water's edge
The first of two rehabilitated Kemp's Ridley sea turtles released by NOAA Fisheries during the event.
Kemp's ridley sea turtle crawling through sargassum to the water
The second rehabilitated Kemp's Ridley sea turtle that was released.

Reef Mural
Winchester Thurston Middle School, PA

May 2014

Using the Reef Mural Lesson from the sanctuary's education resource page, students at Winchester Thurston Middle School, in Pennsylvania, recreated a mural of the Flower Garden Banks with a manta ray swimming over the reef.

A composite mural created using a lesson from the sanctuary
Students at Oppe Elementary in Galveston created their version of the mural in November 2011 with the help of the original artist, Jacqui Stanley (pictured with the mural below).
Artist Jacqui Stanley squats near the mural of the Flower Garden Banks created by students at Oppe Elementary School

UTMB Earth Day Celebration
May 2, 2014

University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) is the largest employer in Galveston and also one of the biggest recyclers. Their annual Earth Day celebration includes a Recycled Fashions show as well as an office supply swapping station.

Volunteer standing next to FGBNMS display
This year the sanctuary display focused on the event theme, "No Drought About It...Water Matters!" Visitors were asked to post how water is important to them.
Lady wearing a dress made of recycled materials
The Baronness of Bags and Baubles was just one of the fashionistas in the Recycled Fashions show.

Texas Marine Education Association (TMEA)

April 26-17, 2014

TMEA's 2014 spring workshop was held in Galveston and hosted by Flower Garden Banks NMS. The weekend included kayaking with Artist Boat, visiting the NOAA Galveston sea turtle facility, an auction fundraiser for scholarships, and a visit to Galveston Island State Park.

People gathered around sea turtle holding tanks
TMEA workshop participants and former Oppe Elementary students touring the sea turtle facility at the NOAA Galveston Lab.
A woman taking pictures of a sea turtles in holding tanks
TMEA President, Kris Shipman, taking photos of some of the young sea turtles being raised at the NOAA Galveston Lab.
Two women wearing plush hats
Kris Shipman wearing a fish hat she won in an auction to raise scholarship funds.
A woman wearing a purple a black fish hat while looking at something on a table
Marolyn Smith wearing another fish hat sold in the scholarship fundraising auction.

Shipwreck Exploration
April 19, 2014

In April 2012, NOAA Ship OKEANOS EXPLORER took a first look at a shipwreck in a deep area south of FGBNMS in the Gulf of Mexico . In July 2013, Dr. Ballard's ship of exploration, E/V NAUTILUS, went back to the site to collect artifacts and discovered two more shipwrecks nearby. In April 2014, NOAA Ship OKEANOS EXPLORER went back to the site of the shipwrecks to explore the biology clustered around these artificial structures.

Sanctuary staff participated from a command center established at Texas A&M Galveston, and the general public was encouraged to follow along live via the internet.

A man seated at a table in front of a large screen TV with a live feed of an underwater expedition.
ONMS Southeast Region Researcher Bill Kiene watches the live feed from OKEANOS EXPLORER and comments on the biology through a live telephone connection with the ROV operators and scientists on board the ship. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

A bright red ctenophore with long trailing tentacles
As the ROV left the bottom to head back to the ship, a bright red ctenophore floated directly in front of the camera.
An ROV hovering above an asphalt extrusion from the deep sea floor in the shape of a flower
A few days after the shipwreck biology work (4/24/14), OKEANOS EXPLORER went to check on another possible shipwreck, but found two"tar lilies" instead. These flower-like formations were formed by molten asphalt oozing up through the sea floor then hardening.

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation
Board of Trustees Meeting
March 11, 2014

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports our National Marine Sanctuary efforts. Their annual Board of Trustees meeting was originally scheduled for Houston/Galveston in October 2013, but a government shutdown caused a postponement.

Three people sitting at a meeting listening to a presentation
Jason Patlis and two board of trustee members listen to a presentation during their meeting at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary headquarters.

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