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February 23, 2005

Anne Smrcina
Stellwagen Bank NMS E
(781) 545-8026, Ext. 204


The NOAA Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary today announced the 2005 Marine Art Contest for students in grades K-12. This year's theme is "Stellwagen Bank - 150 Years of Discovery," commemorating the work of Lt. Henry Stellwagen and the discovery of the bank at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay that now bears his name. The first official government chart showing "Stellwagen's Bank" appeared in 1855. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Students are charged with exploring the fascinating world of New England's only national marine sanctuary through their art in this open competition. The deadline is April 30, 2005. The contest is co-sponsored with the Massachusetts Marine Educators (MME) and the New England Aquarium.

The competition will be judged in five divisions - grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, high school and scientific illustration. Students may select any activity, species or habitat in the sanctuary as the subject of their artwork. Possible topics include endangered species, research in the sanctuary, natural and/or cultural resources and new technologies for marine exploration, such as remotely operated vehicles.

Students may use any medium, including markers, paints, pastels, pencil, pen and ink, collage or computer graphics and are asked to keep artwork between 8 inches by 11 inches and 18 inches by 24 inches. For more detailed information about the contest, visit the sanctuary's Web page at or the MME Web page at

Judges for the contest include renowned marine artist Robert Lyn Nelson; Massachusetts artist and illustrator Dave Blanchette; commercial artist and graphic designer Dennis Huston; chairman of the board of the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History Richard Wheeler; author and educator Nathalie Ward; and sanctuary education coordinator Anne Smrcina.

Winning artists will receive passes from the New England Aquarium, certificates and other prizes. All award-winning entries will be posted on the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Web site and may be displayed at sanctuary exhibits throughout New England.

Congress designated the Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in 1992 as "an area of special national significance." Virtually the size of the state of Rhode Island, the sanctuary stretches between Cape Ann and Cape Cod in federal waters off of Massachusetts. The sanctuary is renowned as a major feeding area for marine mammals, particularly humpback whales, and supports an ecosystem of diverse wildlife.

NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary Program seeks to increase the public awareness of America's maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. Today, the sanctuary program manages 13 national marine sanctuaries and one coral reef ecosystem reserve that encompass more than 150,000 square miles of America's ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources.

The NOAA Oceans and Coasts Service manages the NMSP and is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation's coasts and oceans. The NOAA Oceans and Coasts Service balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources.

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