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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 2016.

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

September 15, 2016

NOAA ship OREGON II made port in Galveston September 15-17, 2016. Shortly after arrival, the crew offered public tours of the vessel and talked about the Fisheries research they have been conducting in the Gulf of Mexico. FGBNMS took care of getting the word out about the tours and was on hand with an information table dockside at Pier 21.

Looking down the starboard side of NOAA ship Oregon II from bow towards stern as it is docked at Pier 21 in Galveston. A gangway leads from the ship to the pier for pedestrian access. NOAA R232 is visible next to the NOAA logo at the bow of the ship.
R/V OREGON II dockside at Pier 21 in Galveston. Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen

A table with a blue tablecloth sits on the dock next to NOAA ship Oregon II. Guests stand to the left of the ship's gangway waiting to board
FGBNMS set up an information table alongside the ship. Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen
A small sign with an outline of the ship and a brief description stands next to the gangway leading up to the ship's deck.
A sign next to the gangway gave a brief history of the ship. Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen
Group of people boarding the ship via a gangway from the dock.
Guests boarding the OREGON II for a tour. Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen

Down Under, Out Yonder Workshop, Galveston TX
July 9-13, 2016

The 20th Down Under, Out Yonder introductory teacher workshop was held at the sanctuary this year. Two days of classroom learning were followed by three days diving in the sanctuary. More images available on the DUOY 2016 page.

A photo of the entire DUOY 2016 group, including dive leaders, and instructors on the top deck of M/V FLING
This year's group included educators from Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Colorado, Ohio, Connecticut and California. (Image: FGBNMS)
Five men/women standing arm in arm on the top deck of M/V FLING
A great group of Dive Leaders helped make this trip successful for participants with varying dive skill levels. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Get Into Your Sanctuary, Lake Jackson TX
June 25, 2016

For the second year in a row, all national marine sanctuaries hosted Get Into Your Sanctuary events the weekend of June 25-26, 2016. The FGBNMS event was held at Sea Center Texas to further encourage visitation of our Reef on the Road traveling exhibit. A cadre of Sea Center and FGBNMS volunteers helped make this event a success!

A man waves from behind the entry desk with a Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary banner in front of him
A cadre of Sea Center and FGBNMS volunteers helped make this event a success! (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Sea-themed snacks for visitors: top left "oyster" cookies with pearl decorations, top right cupcakes with blue icing and chocolate wafers that look like shark fins.
Bottom left, "sand dollar" cookies; bottom right, croissant sandwiches that look like crabs with toothpicks and wiggly eyes to represent eyestalks.
Sea-themed treats were also part of the celebration!
(Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
A father holds a young child while talking to a volunteer in front of a table display about conservation
Several temporary displays were set up for the day, including this one about conservation with a focus on prevention of marine debris. (Image: FGBNMS)

A girl looking at her Fish Scavenger Hunt pictures before heading off to see what she can find.
A sanctuary fishing display is in the background.
The fishing display featured a scavenger hunt to find fish species of the sanctuary in the Sea Center aquarium exhibits.
(Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

A dive volunteer standing next to a child wearing scuba gear.
Volunteers from CHUM and Brazoria Underwater Club helped us with a display about diving and allowed visitors to try on diving gear.
(Image: FGBNMS/DuPuy)
A family of four looking at the Flourishing But Fragile section of the Reef on the Road exhibit
Visitors also had the opportunity to visit the FGBNMS
Reef on the Road exhibit.
(Image: FGBNMS)
Kelly Drinnen giving a presentation at the front of a room full of seated people.
We also offered two presentations about Sanctuary Expansion. Both sessions were well attended. (Image: FGBNMS)

Career Fair, Dickinson TX
May 18, 2016

The sanctuary was, once again, part of the Career Fair at Dunbar Middle School in Dickinson, TX. Students visited a variety of displays to ask career-oriented questions and get ideas about what they might pursue in the future.

A FGBNMS display set atop a round cafeteria table at a school.
Career fairs provide an opportunity to talk about all of the different job skills needed at NOAA. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

"Treasures" Installation, Mobile AL
May 2-5, 2016

Kelly Drinnen assisted Cheryl Oliver and Annie Sawabini with installation of the Treasures of NOAA's Ark traveling exhibit at the GulfQuest Maritime Museum in Mobile, AL. FGBNMS is already featured in the Deep Explorer video interactive exhibit in this new museum, showing underwater footage of the sanctuary while visitors navigate an ROV.

Outside view of the GulfQuest museum from the main parking area
GulfQuest is a new maritime museum on the waterfront in Mobile, AL (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Two women standing between several display cases in a museum area
Cheryl Oliver and Annie Sawabini working on installation of the Treasures of NOAA's Ark traveling exhibit. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Exhibit display case on top of a fake moving crate. Display includes a sea turtle plush with an electronic tracking device attached as well as a listening device and several documents
One of the displays includes information on sea turtle tracking work done by the NOAA Galveston Lab.
(Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Earth Day, Dallas TX
April 22, 2016

Shelley DuPuy and Dustin Picard hosted a sanctuary booth at the annual Earth Day celebration in Dallas. This is the second year FGBNMS has participated in this event to build awareness in the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area.

Three boys sit in chairs in front of a video monitor while Shelley stands behind them and explains what they are seeing
Shelley DuPuy sharing the FGBNMS Highlights video with visitors to the booth. (Image: FGBNMS/Picard)

Migration Celebration, Brazoria County TX
April 16-17, 2016

The annual Migration Celebration in Brazoria County is a series of events centered on the San Bernard Wildlife Refuge. It started out as a birding festival, but has changed over time into a family nature festival. This year, Kelly Drinnen was the keynote speaker for the kick-off dinner on April 8, and the sanctuary hosted a booth at the refuge for two days April 16-17.

Two women talking in front of a sanctuary display table.
The woman on the right is wearing a sanctuary volunteer shirt with the logo visible on her back.
Volunteer Jennifer Idema talking to a visitor at the Migration Celebration event. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

MOGC Spring Festival, League City TX
April 9, 2016

Mothers of Galveston County hosted a Spring Festival as a way to raise funds for sea turtle conservation. FGBNMS was one of the nature organizations at this event, interspersed with vendors and musical presentations on an outdoor stage.

A close up view of a table top display of sanctuary images accompanied by coral skeletons for visitors to touch
The sanctuary display at this festival focused on corals and the challenges they face. Each visitor participated in a game of Reef Tac Toe. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Coast Guard Visit, Galveston TX
March 22, 2016

Members of U.S. Coast Guard Sector Houston/Galveston visited the NOAA Galveston Lab to learn more about the sanctuary and the sea turtle facility. (Images: USCG/Jennifer Nease)

Coast Guard staff seated around tables watching a Powerpoint presentation in a large room
The Coast Guard visit began with a presentation about the sanctuary and the sea turtle program.
Looking from behind Kelly Drinnen at a group of Coast Guard staff in uniform as Kelly explains what they are about to see in the turtle barn.
Next, was a visit to the turtle barn.
Two men and a woman look at a loggerhead sea turtle ina large tank of water at the turtle barn
Coast Guard staff visited with sea turtles...
Group of Coast Guard staff, in uniform, standing behind a shrimp net with TED installed, on the lawn by the turtle barn.
Kelly Drinnen is on the right explaining how the TED works.
...and learned about Turtle Excluder Devices.

Russell Callender Visit, Galveston TX
March 14, 2016

Russell Callender, NOS Assistant Administrator, paid the sanctuary offices a visit while in town to attend some meetings. His visit included a briefing on sanctuary expansion progress as well as a short trip on R/V MANTA.

G.P. Schmahl and Russell Callender standing on the back deck of R/V MANTA after stepping off the gangway to board. Emma Hickerson is standing just behind them.
Russell Callender arrived at R/V MANTA with sanctuary superintendent G.P. Schmahl and research coordinator Emma Hickerson. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Russel Callender seated at a galley table (right), with two other men seated to the left. Three staff members are standing behind.
Before leaving the docks, staff, council members and Russell Callender listened to a briefing from the captain. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Looking at two men with their backs to the camera as they look at the stern controls of R/V MANTA on the upper deck..
Captain Shetler showed Russell Callender the stern controls of R/V MANTA as the boat was maneuvered up to the dock at the end of the trip. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Ocean Discovery Day, Galveston TX
March 12, 2016

This annual NOAA Galveston Lab open house took place on Saturday, March 12, 2016 during spring break in Galveston. Attendance this year was over 4,000 people! Visit our Ocean Discovery Day page for more.

Colorful patchwork mural of a manta ray swimming over the reef recreated from 144 separate square paintings, each made by a different person.
This mural was made by 144 separate people during Ocean Discovery Day festivities. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Exhibit Move-in at Sea Center Texas, Lake Jackson TX
March 1, 2016

The sanctuary's traveling exhibit, Reef on the Road, moved to its new location at Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson. Due to the size and weight of the exhibit, it takes quite a few people to move the units into place.

Forklift moving an 8-foot tall exhibit piece while it is still packed in a plywood crate.
Each exhibit unit weighs about 500 pounds, so a forklift was used to move it from the transport truck to the building. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Four men moving a crated exhibit piece on its side
Each unit had to be carefully laid upon its side to move it through standard height doorways and into the exhibit area using a pallet jack. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
Exhibit unit standing upright in crate with workers around it
Once inside, each unit was tilted back upright and positioned so that the exhibit piece could be slid out of the crate onto the floor. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)
All three exhibit units on display behind a Welcome to the Flower Garden Banks banner.
Tada! This is what it looked like once everything was unpacked and plugged in. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Nature Day at Sea Center Texas, Lake Jackson, TX
February 27, 2016

Nature Day is an annual event at Sea Center Texas that introduces visitors to the wonders of nature through a combination of exhibits, activities and crafts offered by a variety of local, nature-based organizations. FGBNMS is a fairly regular participant.

Two skirted tables forming a V, with a sanctuary display on top of the table to the right and an activity displayed on the table to the left. A female volunteer is standing behind the activity table. Kelly Drinnen is standing in the corner of the V between the 2 tables.
Kelly Drinnen (center) and volunteer Rachel Trolinder (left) hosted a sanctuary display and activity at Nature Day. (Image: TPWD/Connie Stolte)

Moody Gardens Educator Open House, Galveston TX
February 6, 2016

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.

Caitlyn standing next to the FGBNMS display table and banner.
Sanctuary volunteer Caitlyn Donohoo helped Kelly Drinnen talk to educators about the sanctuary. (Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Lonestar Lionfish Symposium, Corpus Christi TX

February 2-3, 2016 A black and white lionfish drawing overlaid by a 5 pointed star with the Texas flag colors inside. Lone Star Lionfish Symposium is written to the right of the image.

The 1st Annual Lonestar Lionfish Symposium, hosted by the Texas Lionfish Coalition, was held in Corpus Christi, TX at the Harte Research Institute and the Texas State Aquarium. The goal of the symposium was to develop a unified Texas approach to controlling lionfish. Our very own Dr. Michelle Johnston was one of the presenters.

A woman standing at the front of a presentation room next to projection screen showing her presentation.
Michelle Johnston presented on current lionfish efforts in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
A man (left) and a woman (right) seated at a table in front of an audience as part of a panel discussion.
Michelle was also part of a panel discussion held at the Texas State Aquarium to provide an opportunity for media and the public to understand lionfish threats and control.

Winter Texans Reception, Galveston TX
January 13, 2016

This year, the sanctuary was part of a slate of programs offered specifically for Winter Texans in Galveston. To kick off the season, the Galveston Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted a Winter Texans reception at which many of the participating organizations hosted tables and were available to answer questions.

Guests look at a table top display about the sanctuary while Kelly Drinnen stands alongside.
Organizations set up their displays on the stage of The Grand 1894 Opera House for this event.

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