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outreach and education
Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2009: Understanding the Blue Economy
OAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries' National Marine Sanctuary Foundation hosted the annual Capitol Hill Ocean Week symposium in June 2009. The event, themed around "The BLUE Economy: Understanding the Ocean's Role in Our Nation's Financial Future," brought together leading government policy makers, scientists, non-governmental groups, industry representatives and federal agency officials to discuss the inextricable link between the ocean and the economy and to suggest tangible ways sound ocean policies might help improve our economy.

The event kicked off with a congressional briefing on "Sanctuaries and the Economy" held by sanctuary staff in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. More than 90 people attended the briefing, which was cohosted by the House Oceans Caucus, the House National Marine Sanctuaries Caucus, and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. During the week, leadership from across the National Marine Sanctuary System also provided briefings to two congressional committees and numerous House and Senate members and staff. Year after year, Capitol Hill Ocean Week and the events surrounding it have become a key forum to talk about important ocean and coastal issues with members of Congress, the administration and our stakeholders.

Challenges facing the ocean today cross national and ethnic 
boundaries, and marine sanctuaries serve as places where 
people can find common ground and discuss solutions. Sanctuary education and outreach efforts link communities through 
innovative programs and help spread awareness of the ocean's 
connection to all life.

Ocean for Life: Promoting Cross-Cultural Understanding Through Ocean Science

ocean for life participantIn summer 2009, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the GLOBE Program piloted "Ocean for Life," an immersive education program with the goal of increasing cultural understanding through ocean science. This pilot program brought together 57 high school students from 14 countries, including the United States, Bahrain, Canada, Egypt, France, Morocco, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and encouraged the participants to discover common ground in marine science, conservation and how the ocean connects us all. Over the course of two separate two-week field studies, the students explored Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Washington, D.C., and Monterey Bay, Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones national marine sanctuaries along the central California coast. In partnership with American University and National Geographic, the participants created multimedia projects using photos and video they collected during their experiences. They are continuing to collaborate on their ocean stewardship and cultural engagement efforts in their home towns and countries. For more information about the Ocean for Life program, visit www.oceanforlife.org.

Sanctuaries Act as Catalysts for Watershed Education

Building on the success of the California Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B- WET) Grants Program, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary was selected by the NOAA Office of Education in spring 2009 to host the new Pacific Northwest B-WET program. B-WET programs in California, Hawaii and the Chesapeake Bay region already provide funds for organizations that engage under-served students in fieldbased watershed education experiences. Projects offer hands-on learning opportunities to students, teachers and communities, focusing on ocean literacy concepts and human connection to the national marine sanctuaries. Through the B-WET expansion into the Pacific Northwest, sanctuary staff there will be able to serve schools throughout Oregon and Washington, and enhance NOAA's educational outreach efforts in the region. Grants awarded by the B-WET programs in California and the Pacific Northwest in 2009 totaled nearly $2.6 million.

Film Festivals Highlight Sanctuaries from Coast to Coast

boy divingThe Sixth Annual San Francisco Ocean Film Festival drew an estimated 3,700 ocean enthusiasts in February 2009 to view films on marine science and exploration, conservation, recreation, and coastal cultures. The event featured more than 40 international documentary, fictional and animated films, along with student programs, media arts awards and public discussions. A special session spotlighted Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, a founding partner of the festival, and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Across the country, Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary hosted the 2009 Blue Ocean Film Festival, a global summit for underwater filmmakers and researchers. Held in Savannah, Ga., in June, the festival received more than 200 entries. The event, which will relocate to Monterey, Calif., in 2010, honored, promoted and shared more than 50 films that inspired people to protect our oceans and the life within. Festivals like these showcase the power of film in promoting ocean conservation, exploration and science, and interaction with our marine environment.

Building New Partnerships with NASA for Distance Learning

Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and NOAA's National Ocean Service, in collaboration with NASA Langley Research Center's Digital Learning Network, hosted a "Tides and Currents" Web cast for teachers in April 2009. The Web cast, one in a series conducted by NASA to help educators bring earth science into the classroom, featured NOS staff broadcasting from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, sharing NOAA educational resources and answering questions in real time. Monitor sanctuary staff hosted more than 100 teachers from Virginia and North Carolina, who viewed the 1 1/2-hour Web cast broadcast from Hampton, Va. This multi-agency collaboration was the first in a regular series of Web cast for educators and students focusing on ocean and climate literacy principles.

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