Adventure of a Lifetime: Engaging Youth in Sanctuary Conservation
In May 2011, five high school students from Saginaw, Michigan embarked on the adventure of a lifetime: hunt for a shipwreck, investigate its identity, and document it in 3D for future generations. They located two previously undiscovered wrecks, the schooner M.F. Merrick and the freighter Etruria. The adventure, dubbed Project Shiphunt, was developed by Sony and Intel Corp., and used cutting-edge technologies to expose students to exciting career opportunities in marine fields. Project Shiphunt brought over 50 researchers and filmmakers to Alpena and showcased vital sanctuary partnerships with NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab, U.S. Coast Survey, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Project Shiphunt is only the latest of a series of projects to engage our future sanctuary managers and marine stewards. A number of Sanctuary Advisory Councils have youth seats (Monitor, 2008; Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale and Fagatele Bay, 2009, and Stellwagen Bank, 2012). Over the past several years, Flower Garden Banks, Gray's Reef, and Thunder Bay have hosted the annual Youth Eductional Summit for the National Association of Black Scuba Divers (NABS-YES). These week-long adventures expose students from across the country to the ocean and coastal habitats, ocean technology, and cultural elements of each geographic area.