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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 2015.

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

Seawall Bench Dedication
December 8, 2015

Project S.I.T. is a program aimed at decorating seawall benches in Galveston with informational artwork. One of the benches, sponsored by the Galveston Commission for the Arts, was designed and created by Patricia Hagstrom, a local artist and diver. At the bench's dedication, Education/Outreach Coordinator Shelley DuPuy was invited to say a few words about the sanctuary. (Images: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

The Flower Garden Banks themed bench is located on the Seawall in front  of Murdoch's Bath House, a business on pilings out over the water.
The Flower Garden Banks themed bench is located in front of Murdoch's at 27th and Seawall Boulevard. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
The top of the bench features a tiled design showing tropical reef fish, sea horses, and corals
The bench features tropical reef species and a statement about coral cover in the sanctuary: "Half of the sea floor at the Flower Garden Banks is covered in coral. Some of the coral heads are 200 years old and are the size of a small car." (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
The dedication plaque at the front of the bench says, "Coral Corral - Flower Garden Banks". Artist: Patricia Hagstrom. In Honor of: Galveston's Performing and Visual Arts Organizations and the Individual Artists who add Beauty and Energy to our Island. Special Thanks: Gavleston Commision for the Arts, Galveston County, Artist Boat
A plaque at the front of the bench calls this artwork "Coral Corral - Flower Garden Banks." (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Sanctuary staff, the artist, and the Executive Director of Artist Boat posing behind the newly dedicated bench with Murdoch's Bath House in the background
Sanctuary staff posed with the artist, Patricia Hagstrom (4th from left), and Artist Boat director Karla Klay (left end) after the bench dedication. (Image: FGBNMS)
Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST), Fort Worth, TX
November 12-14, 2015
Dennis Cain sitting and Shelley DuPuy standing behind the information tables of the NOAA Education booth while a teacher looks at the selection of materials available.
The NOAA Education booth at CAST included representatives from the National Weather Service (Dennis Cain, seated), FGBNMS (Shelley DuPuy, standing) and the Teacher at Sea program.
(Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Flower Garden Banks NMS table in the NOAA Education booth
The Flower Garden Banks sanctuary display was part of the NOAA Education booth. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Signs in the NOAA display booth: Defy gravity...Explore down under...
The theme of the conference was Defying Gravity. We took that to mean diving in rather than soaring above the planet.
(Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Small magnetic white boards with images of reef scenes and things impacting reefs to use as part of a tic-tac-toe game
Reef-Tac-Toe was a new interactive game we shared with teachers at the conference. The game pits healthy reef elements against reef threats to see which will prevail. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Galveston College Fall Festival
October 29, 2015
Woman wearing a red squid hat standing in front of a sanctuary display table outside a building
Shelley DuPuy attracted attention to our booth by wearing a squid hat. Visitors were excited to learn about the sanctuary and find out the date of our next Ocean Discovery Day. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Reef on the Road Presentation, Angleton Library
September 28, 2015

The Angleton Library scheduled one public event for each month the Reef on the Road exhibit is at their facility. This was the first of those presentations.

Rows of chairs lined up facing a projection screen that says Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Reef on the Road Traveling Exhibit
This presentation was an introduction to the sanctcuary and the Reef on the Road exhibit on display in the library. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

AZA Conference, Salt Lake City, UT
September 18-21, 2015

We attended the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) annual conference to engage with zoo and aquarium staff on outreach topics and opportunities for partnering. NOAA Education sponsored the booth.

3 men and a woman standing between a NOAA backdrop and a Stop the Invasion lionfish banner in an exhibit booth of a conference hall
Kelly Drinnen worked with NOAA Education staff to host a booth at the AZA conference.
A small table with 2 chairs in front of a Stop the Invasioni banner with the outline of a lionfish filled with images of other fish lionfish have been eating
The sanctuary talked with zoos and aquariums about how they are addressing the topic of invasive lionfish and offered them Stop the Invasion posters to display in their facilities. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Down Under, Out Yonder (DUOY)
Educator Workshop and Scuba Field Experience

July 11-15, 2015

This annual workshop consists of two land-based days focused on teaching teachers about coral reefs and reef fish, then three days at sea diving in the sanctuary and collecting fish data.

More photos...

Four teachers gathered at the end of a table with their gloved hands placed together to form a coral colony
Teachers learned how to do the Coral Up Close activity.
(Image: FGBNMS/DuPuy)
Workshop teachers gathered on the pier behind R/V MANTA
A tour of R/V MANTA was included as a part of the workshop. Teachers later saw the MANTA at work in the sanctuary while they were out
there diving.
(Image: FGBNMS/DuPuy)
Looking over the shoulder of a teacher with a fish ID book standing in front of an aquarium window at Moody Gardens as a stingray swims by
Teachers practiced their fish ID skills in the Aquarium at Moody Gardens before heading offshore to do surveys underwater.
(Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Teacher in full scuba gear sitting on a bench on the dive boat
Once offshore, teachers had the opportunity to participate in 11 dives in the sanctuary. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

4H Leadership Lab, TAMUG Campus
June 25, 2015

4H students from across Texas met for a Leadership Lab at the Texas A&M Galveston Campus this summer. As part of this event, FGBNMS and Rice University teamed up to provide not only an introduction to the sanctuary, but a "fins on" pool experience learning about coral reef monitoring.

Life size images of the reef, printed on canvas, lying on the bottom of a pool with students snorkeling overhead
Rice University loaned us life-size canvas images of the Flower Garden Banks reef to deploy in the swimming pool with the help of one of their students. (Image: FGBNMS/Park)
Underwater view of two students in snorkel gear. One is carrying coral ID pictures and the other is carrying a clipboard
4H students in snorkel gear used dive slates and coral idenitfication sheets to examine the "reef" on the pool floor. (Image: FGBNMS/Park)

Underwater view of student in snorkel gear pointing at something in the canvas reef picture at the bottom of the pool
Students were challenged to identify different coral species by diving to the bottom of the pool and closely examing the "reef."
(Image: FGBNMS/Park)

Research quadrat (pvc frame with string grid pattern) laid on top of canvas coral reef images on the bottom of a pool
Students were introduced to quadrats, tools used to quantify coral cover on the reef. (Image: FGBNMS/Park)

Ocean Heroes
June 11, 2015

The 2015 summer theme for libraries across the country was Every Hero Has a Story. As part of this, the sanctuary offered a program focused on Ocean Heroes like Jacque Cousteau, Sylvia Earle, Eugenie Clark and Robert Ballard. A short presentation was followed by story time and a coloring activity in which kids were encouraged to imagine a new species they might discover some day.

A table covered with a colorful fish fabric displays kids books about oceans and ocean heroes.
The Jacque Cousteau book on the left was read during story time. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
A student's hands coloring a picture that includes a yellow and blue striped fish. "This is a tropical reef fish I dream of. It is blue and yellow striped fish."
A student colors a picture of a fish she would like to discover some day. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Project S.I.T. Bench Dedication
June 6, 2015

Project S.I.T. is a program aimed at decorating seawall benches in Galveston with informational artwork. One of the benches, sponsored by the Galveston Island Park Board of Trustees, in honor of Captain Robert Webster, was designed and created by 4th and 5th grade students of Jacqui Stanley, a member of the Sanctuary Advisory Council. At the bench's dedication, Sanctuary Superintendent G.P. Schmahl was invited to say a few words about the sanctuary and Jacqui's involvement with the council. (Images: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Concrete bench decorated in tiles with a red ribbon on top
Students from Yorkshire Academy gathered around the newly decorated bench with their parents before the dedication ceremony began. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Jacqui Stanley talking to the students gathered around their artwork on the bench
Jacqui spoke to the the gathered audience about how the students submitted a project idea, researched it and created the beautiful tiles. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Group of students packed around the bench cutting the ceremonial ribbon
All of the students participated in the ribbon cutting party of the dedication ceremony. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Jacqui, her students and Robert Webster posing around the finished bench
Jacqui and her students posed by the bench with Robert Webster following the dedication. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Close up view of the tilework created by the students to teach visitors about sargassum
The finished artwork shows the wonderful world of sargassum mats along with informational tiles. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Bench dedicatioin plaque on the front side of the bench
The students called their artwork "Silly, Springy, Sargassum."
(Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Bay Day, Kemah
May 23, 2015
Sanctuary display under a pop-up tent in a parking lot with other displays
Despite the threat of rain, Bay Day 2015 was well attended. The sanctuary booth was part of a scavenger hunt for visitors to complete. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Reverb at the Woodlands Pavilion
May 16, 2015

In 2015, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries partnered with Reverb to promote sanctuaries at concert venues near sanctuary locations. Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary was the first sanctuary to participate.

We hosted an action booth in Reverb’s Eco-Village at the Dave Matthews Band concert in Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion near Houston. Visitors to the sanctuary booth were encouraged to follow sanctuary happenings through social media and/or email lists and most were surprised to learn that we have thriving coral reefs off the coast of Texas.

Night view of the Cynthia Mitchell Woods concert pavilion outside Houston, TX
The Cynthia Mitchell Woods Pavilion in The Woodlands, TX is a popular outdoor concert venue. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

The sanctuary's display booth under a green pop-up shelter that says Music. Environment. Action. Two sanctuary banners are displayed on either side of the shelter.
Reverb's Eco-Village consisted of a few "green" tents promoting environmental action and awareness at the concert.
(Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Sanctuary volunteer Janene Fowler talks to a visitor at the sanctuary booth while holding a plush manta ray toy.
Volunteer Janene Fowler talks to a concert-goer about the sanctuary. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Turtle Mural Displayed at TIRN
May 14, 2015

Each year, local educator/artist Jacqui Stanley creates a large, original wall mural that serves as a template for an activity at our Ocean Discovery Day event. The mural for 2015 featured Sea Turtles of the Gulf of Mexico. This mural is now hanging in the Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) offices in Galveston to aid in their education and outreach efforts about sea turtles.

Two men hanging a large sea turtle mural on a wall as a dog watches.
TIRN mascot Louie watches as sanctuary staff hang a sea turtle mural from Ocean Discovery Day.

Sea turtles of the Gulf of Mexico mural on the wall at TIRN offices
This Sea Turtles of the Gulf of Mexico mural, created by advisory council member Jacqui Stanley, will continue to educate the public at the TIRN offices in Galveston.

UTMB Earth Day Texas, Galveston
May 1, 2015

Shelley DuPuy talking to a visitor in front of the sanctuary display booth
UTMB staff and students were interested in learning about the coral reefs off the Texas coast. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Earth Day Texas, Dallas Fair Park
April 25, 2015

Shelley DuPuy (right) and her sister (left) standing in front of the sanctuary display booth
Education/Outreach Coordinator Shelley DuPuy staffed the sanctuary display with her sister. (Image: Greg Woods)

Opening of Secret Ocean 3D IMAX at Moody Gardens
March 7, 2015

The opening night festivities for the Secret Ocean 3D IMAX movie included booths from ocean conservation organizations, like FGBNMS, and an introduction from Jean Michel Cousteau.

Kelly talking to visitors to the sanctuary display in the Visitor Center of Moody Gardens
Visitors to the grand opening of the Secret Ocean 3D movie were interested in learning more about other ocean conservation
issues in the area.
(Image: FGBNMS)

Nature Day at Sea Center Texas
February 28, 2015

The sanctuary display inside Sea Center Texas with an extra table where kids are working on a craft with the help of a volunteer.
The sanctuary display at Nature Day provided an opportunity to learn about the sanctuary and/or make a small craft. Sanctuary volunteer Brenda helped kids with the craft for part of the day.
(Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

An accordion fold booklet of sanctuary images that kids could put together. The end flap says Hooray for Reefs.
Kids visiting the sanctuary booth could put together a small, accordion-fold booklet of reef images. Messages on the booklet say Hooray for Reefs! and Clean Water for Corals! (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Andrea, a sanctuary volunteer, standing in front of the display proudly wearing her Texas A&M Galveston Marine Biology shirt
Andrea was one of several volunteers who helped us staff the sanctuary display at Nature Day. (Image: Sea Center Texas)

FGBNMS Specialty Course at TAMUG
February 2015

Our research team taught the third annual FGBNMS specialty course to students from Texas A&M University (Galveston and College Station) and staff from the Aquarium at Moody Gardens this month. This course teaches fish and coral identification techniques specific to the sanctuary to students who are currently completing scientific diving certifications. Course participants learn basic fish and coral identification techniques and common survey methods used to collected data. Following the classroom training, students practice fish surveys in the pool and at the Aquarium at Moody Gardens. The course is designed to train potential volunteer divers who may assist with future sanctuary research cruises.

Divers standing at the edge of a swimming pool ready to jump in with all of their survey gear.
Students conduct pool training sessions to practice survey techniques. Divers are loaded with all survey related equipment (datasheets, clipboards, measuring sticks, and bags) in addition to surface marker equipment. (Image: TAMUG/FGBNMS)
An underwater view of a diver in a swimming pool writing on a clipboard while floating above the bottom. Another diver is visible in the background.
Students practice conducting modified Bohnsack surveys, where the diver remains in a fixed location at the center of a cylinder and identifies the fish surrounding him/her. (Image credit: TAMUG/FGBNMS)
Underwater view of four divers practicing fish surveys in a pool.
Students conducting modified Bohnsack surveys.
(Image credit: TAMUG/FGBNMS)
A laminated fish drawing floating underwater in a swimming pool with scuba divers in the background.
In the pool sessions, students identify fish family templates as they practice their survey methods. (Image credit: TAMUG/FGBNMS)
Two students practicing fish survey methods from inside a tunnel of a large aquarium exhibit.
Students and a Moody Gardens aquarist practicing fish survey methods in the Caribbean exhibit of the Aquarium at Moody Gardens.
(Image credit: FGBNMS/Embesi)
Group photo of students who participated in lab session 1
Participants from Texas A&M University at Galveston, Texas A&M University College Station, and Moody Gardens during the first lab session of the course. (Image credit: FGBNMS/Embesi)
Group photo of students who participated in lab session 2
Participants from Texas A&M University at Galveston and Texas A&M University College Station during the second lab session of the course. (Image credit: FGBNMS/Embesi)
A man identifying species of coral in pictures laying on the ground under a survey quadrat as he teaches students the survey technique
FGBNMS researcher, Ryan Eckert, teaches coral survey identification and methods. (Image credit: FGBNMS/Embesi)

Seafood Summit, New Orleans, LA
February 9-11, 2015

As part of the national Seafood Summit, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation sponsored a celebrity cookoff using invasive lionfish. The event, billed as the “Celebrity Chef Lionfish Challenge – Malicious but Delicious!” challenged seven well-known chefs to make the most of this tasty fish in the hopes of encouraging more of a market for them.

Two pictures in one. Top picture shows piles of dead lionfish. Bottom picture shows two men holding lionfish they are getting ready to fillet.
300 pounds of lionfish where caught off the east coast of Florida by Capt. Vince Luise of VJL Seafood and brought to New Orleans for the dinner. The fish were filleted at Harlon's Louisiana Fish & Seafood. (Images: FGBNMS/Johnston)
Three picture collage: A view of the celebrity cookoff area at the summit (top), a plated lionfish dish (bottom right), two chefs cooking and plating a lionfish dish (bottom left)
Seven celebrity chefs prepared signature lionfish dishes for participants to sample at the Seafood Summit in New Orleans.
(Images: FGBNMS/Johnston)

Moody Gardens Educator Open House, Galveston, TX
February 7, 2015

Moody Gardens provides educators a free day of admission to learn more about the educational opportunities available at their site and those of partners, like FGBNMS.

Teachers gathered around a sanctuary volunteer in front of the sanctuary display booth.
Sanctuary volunteer Barney Corbin talks to teachers about the educational resources available from the sanctuary website.
(Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

TAZE Meeting, Waco, TX
January 14-16, 2015

Once a year, Texas Aquarium & Zoo Educators (TAZE) holds a professional development meeting for educators from member institutions. It's a chance to learn what others are doing in the industry and what issues are important. This year's meeting was held at Cameron Park Zoo, one of our sanctuary partners. As part of the meeting, the sanctuary provided a presentation about invasive lionfish and conducted a lionfish dissection.

Group of people gathered around a stainless steel table in the back areas of an exhibit at Cameron Park Zoo.
TAZE educators gathered together in the back areas of the Brazos River Country exhibit of the zoo to see a lionfish dissection.
(Image: Cameron Park Zoo)
Kelly Drinnen dissecting a lionfish on a stainless steel table with assistance from one of the zoo biologists.
Kelly Drinnen conducted a lionfish dissection and explained the kinds of information we gather as part of lionfish research efforts. A zoo biologist assisted with the data collection. (Image: Cameron Park Zoo)
Group of meeting participants in winter clothing gathered under some trees at the zoo.
Group photo of all the educators participating in the 2015 meeting. (Image: Cameron Park Zoo)

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