Volunteer of the Year

Nicole (right) collecting water samples from the CTD carousel along with Raven (left)

Each year we select one person to be recognized as our sanctuary Volunteer of the Year. This is our way of acknowledging the efforts of individuals who donate time and energy to help us meet our goals.

The selected individual is also in the running for National Marine Sanctuaries Volunteer of the Year in competition with volunteers from the other 13 sites in the National Marine Sanctuary System.

2018 Volunteer of the Year

Volunteer Nicole Morgan collecting water samples from the CTD carousel on board R/V MANTA. (Video: FGBNMS/Drinnen)

Nicole Morgan
Galveston, TX

Nicole Morgan first volunteered with the sanctuary in 2015 when she was a student at Texas A&M University at Galveston. Through her course of study in the marine environment, she heard about the sanctuary and the need for interested, informed individuals to help meet sanctuary goals. She started out by helping with Ocean Discovery Day, a community outreach event. Her participation in this and other sanctuary outreach activities has helped make citizens more aware of how valuable the sanctuary is to the public.

Nicole then began volunteering with the research team by participating as a science diver on expeditions to the sanctuary. This involved both mobilization and demobilization of the vessel, as well as diving in the sanctuary to collect data and monitor the health of sanctuary resources. Back on land, she has helped by examining and cataloging long-term monitoring images and analyzing ROV surveys from explorations outside the sanctuary, which contributes to information supporting sanctuary expansion. Nicole has also assisted with lionfish dissections.

Nicole doing a giant stride into the water in full scuba gear near a gas platform
Nicole jumping in to do fish surveys on a nearby platform. (Image: FGBNMS/Embesi)

While working with the research team, Nicole learned about opportunities to provide support for other aspects of sanctuary management. She now routinely assists with Sanctuary Advisory Council meetings. Her contributions help ensure that council meetings run smoothly so members can focus on the issues at hand.

Nicole is a well-rounded volunteer, interested in all aspects of the sanctuary’s success, and has proven to be an invaluable asset to the sanctuary over the past several years.

Nicole seated at a table covered in paperwork
Nicole (right) and another diver recording data after a survey. (Image: FGBNMS/Embesi)

Previous Volunteers of the Year

Click on the links below to learn about previous Volunteers of the Year and their contributions.

2017   Andrea Stromeyer

2016   Scott Hickman

2015   Jesse Cancelmo

2014   Matt Stout

2013   Tom Oglin

2012   Clint Moore

2011   Kevin Buch

2010   Jacqueline Stanley

2009   George Hanks

2008   Tim Gibson

2007   Pete Bryant

2006   Haidee Williams

2005   Joyce & Frank Burek