2023 Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest

May 26, 2023 through September 4, 2023


Webinar Series

fish swimming around a coral reef

The National Marine Sanctuaries Webinar Series provides educators, students, and the interested public with educational and scientific expertise, resources and training to support ocean and climate literacy. This series generally targets formal and informal educators that are engaging students (elementary through college) in formal classroom settings, as well as members of the community in informal educational venues (e.g. after school programs, science centers, aquariums, etc.). However, the series is open to anyone interested in the topics listed below.

For distance learning programs about marine mammals and other protected species in the wild, please visit our Wildlife Viewing Guidelines and the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources' Marine Life Viewing Guidelines to ensure you are aware of the regulations.

Upcoming Webinars

Developing Offshore Wind in U.S. Waters Part 1: The Planning and Regulatory Framework

July 19, 2023 at 6 am Hawaii `i / 9 am Pacific / 11 pm Central / 12 pm Eastern

Presenters: Brian Hooker of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Office of Renewable Energy Programs, Betsy Nicholson of the NOAA Office for Coastal Management, and Joy Page of the US Department of Energy Wind Energy Technology Office

The deployment of offshore wind energy facilities in US waters has tremendous potential to help the country deliver on its climate change commitments and clean energy goals. It is also a reality beginning to take shape with the first commercial-scale facilities beginning construction in 2023 in the Northeast US. In Part 1 of our webinar series on ocean wind energy in US waters, we will explore the historical and policy background and framing behind the US wind energy transition, including an introduction to the planning and regulation processes and the players involved. This webinar will set the groundwork for future discussions exploring offshore wind energy, its future in US waters, and its compatibility and interactions with marine protected areas and other ocean uses.

This webinar is co-sponsored by the NOAA National Marine Protected Areas Center and Open Communications for the Ocean (MPA News, OpenChannels, EBM Tools Network).


Left to right: An almost all white brain coral, with a small amount of remaining pink in the bottom left hand corner; four baby green sea turtles near the surface of the water; and a sandpiper walking on the beach.

Boiling Over: Marine Heatwaves, What are They and What Can We Expect?

August 10, 2023 at 10 am Hawaii `i / 1 pm Pacific / 3 pm Central / 4 pm Eastern

Presenters: Dillon Amaya, Climate Research Scientist, NOAA Physical Sciences Laboratory; Michael Jacox, Research Oceanographer, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Much like we experience periods of extreme and unusual heat in different areas on land, parts of the ocean can experience persistently high water temperatures, also known as marine heatwaves. These extreme events can have devastating impacts on marine ecosystems and the communities that depend on them. The dangerous effects of marine heatwaves have been seen in national marine sanctuaries and by sanctuary users. Interested in finding out more? Take a break from the heat this summer and join us online to learn what marine heatwaves are, why we should care about them, and what we can expect from them in the context of a changing climate and warming ocean.


Left to right: Researcher attaching a scientific tag to a whale; divers underwater documenting a shipwreck; and a male researcher holding a seabird.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: How Visitors Help Sanctuaries Monitor Climate Change

September 19, 2023 at 9 am Hawaii `i / 12 pm Pacific / 2 pm Central / 3 pm Eastern

Presenters: Dr. Tammy Silva, Research Marine Ecologist, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Brenda S. Altmeier, Maritime Heritage Coordinator, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and Dr. Zachary Cannizzo, Climate Coordinator, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Marine Protected Areas Center

From severe storms to ocean warming to sea level rise, climate change poses a clear and present threat to treasured places, critical biodiversity, and cultural resources across the national marine sanctuary system. Sanctuaries need to monitor climate change's impact within their sites and on natural resources, so they can identify and respond to these impacts. Everyone who visits and uses sanctuaries can play an invaluable role in ensuring their continued prosperity by helping to monitor for climate change impacts. Join us to learn more about the importance of climate change monitoring in sanctuaries, and how all kinds of visitors - from divers, to teachers, to fishers - are helping to monitor and educate about climate change impacts in Stellwagen Bank and Florida Keys national marine sanctuaries. Solving the climate crisis is going to take all of us working together, how can you support climate monitoring at your local sanctuary?


From left to right: The cover of a curriculum about orca whales; a male artist standing in front of a canvas; and a drawing of an orca by a third grader.

Unique ways to connect kids and teens to the ocean and engage them as science communicators

October 18, 2023 at 12 pm Hawai`i / 3 pm Pacific / 5 pm Central / 6 pm Eastern

Presented by:

  • Nora Nickum, Senior Ocean Policy Manager at the Seattle Aquarium and author of Superpod: Saving the Endangered Orcas of the Pacific Northwest
  • Patricia Newman, award-winning author of Planet Ocean: Why We All Need a Healthy Ocean, Plastic, Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators That Saved an Ecosystem , and A River’s Gifts: The Mighty Elwha River Reborn
  • Esteban Camacho Steffensen, international muralist with major works created throughout the Pacific Northwest, Costa Rica, China, and Spain
  • Alicia Keefe, NOAA Fisheries Outreach & Education Coordinator

How do we connect kids and teens to the ocean and empower them to act? Story–in all its forms. Humans are hard-wired to spin tales to create emotional connections that help us better understand the world. Join nonfiction storytellers Nora Nickum and Patricia Newman, artist Esteban Camacho Steffensen, and educator Alicia Keefe, who each have ways of translating their passion for ocean conservation and complicated ocean science into forms that entice kids and teens to ask questions, dig deeper, and engage with their communities. Together we will discover new ways to visualize concepts like climate change, ocean acidification, pollution, habitat loss, food web disruption, and underwater noise using an interdisciplinary approach that includes science, art, writing, and speaking.

Patricia and Nora will share examples from their written work as well as their live presentations with children and educators. NOAA Fisheries Outreach & Education Coordinator Alicia Keefe will highlight NOAA’s interdisciplinary Southern Resident curriculum, other NOAA educational resources, and how NOAA works with artists to advance conservation. Esteban Camacho will share images of his murals and talk about the process of creating them while working with children and youth in a variety of educational settings. His environmental murals tell stories about the crisis while also inspiring the public with the beauty of the natural world that we are striving to protect. His style also explores symbiotic relationships and the humane role we can play in the web of life. His slideshow will break down the process of creating large scale murals and encourage others to undertake their own climate mural projects!


Left to right: A woman on a research boat holding a line off the boat; satellite image of the Great Lakes; and a woman on a pier talking to educators.

Why Should We Care About Freshwater Acidification? Science and Stewardship in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Presenters: Dr. Reagan Errera, NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory and Stephanie Gandulla, NOAA’s Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

October 17, 2023 at 10 am Hawaii `i / 1 pm Pacific / 3 pm Central / 4 pm Eastern

Rising freshwater acidification levels have the potential to severely impact the Great Lakes environment. In 2022, scientists began an important research initiative to monitor acidification levels in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The research will improve our understanding of lake acidification and its potential impacts to natural and maritime heritage resources in the Great Lakes. The data generated from this ongoing research in Thunder Bay sanctuary will result in the first baseline study specific to freshwater acidification in Lake Huron. During this webinar, learn about the working partnership with NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program and the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab, Thunder Bay sanctuary, and the local northern Michigan community. Find out what freshwater acidification is, why we should care, how acidification research is conducted, and how the community is involved in this effort to create a baseline of data. We will also discuss resilience to climate change in the Great Lakes.