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Volunteer of the Year


Tom OglinTom Oglin wearing his volunteer badge
Aquarium Docent
Dallas, TX

Since his formal introduction to Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary during a Down Under, Out Yonder educator workshop and dive expedition in 2002, Tom Oglin has been teaching about and advocating for Flower Garden Banks and other sanctuaries. 

Tom shares his passion for the ocean and the sanctuary with thousands of people each year through his work as a docent for the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park.  He is frequently overheard in front of the Flower Garden Banks exhibit telling visitors about the great coral reefs off the Texas coast and introducing many land-locked residents to their national marine sanctuaries. 

Tom receiving his volunteer of the year plaque from G.P. Schmahl
Tom receiving his award plaque from
Sanctuary Superintendent G.P. Schmahl

Until they encounter Tom, many of these residents have no idea there are marine sanctuaries in their watershed, much less how strongly their actions affect those sanctuaries.

Tom snapping photos of people in front of a coral reef image
Tom snapping pictures of people to post on Facebook as
part of an Ocean Discovery Day activity.

But, Tom's enthusiasm for the sanctuary doesn't stop at the aquarium doors. Anytime we have a request for a presentation to a dive club, civic organization or school in the Dallas metroplex, we can count on Tom to represent the sanctuary. Even on vacation, Tom shares sanctuary brochures and proudly tells people about Texas' coral reefs.

Tom with a walkaround character called Sanctuary Sam
Tom and his pal Sanctuary Sam at Ocean Discovery Day

Tom has also been known to drive the 300 miles from Dallas to Galveston to help staff sanctuary events such as Ocean Discovery Day.

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