ENGAGING PARTNERS AND VISITORS
In 2013, the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS) engaged in various tourism partnerships to support resource protection and the local economy. Partners included the National Park of American Samoa, the cruise ship industry, village-based ecotourism experiences and local businesses. Additionally, the sanctuary hosted the resident-led "Festival of Sites," highlighting the sanctuary's special places and giving tourists a preview of Samoan life. NMSAS also featured a new film "Penina Tutasi – Amerika Samoa" to increase exposure and awareness of the sanctuary. In 2013, the Ocean Center accommodated 12,000 visitors.
NEW CHANNEL ISLANDS BOATING CENTER OPENS
The Channel Islands Boating Center facility, operated by California State University Channel Islands was completed in April 2013. The new 15,000 square foot facility is focused on boating education for youth and lifelong learners. The center features sanctuary system exhibits, touch screen kiosks, a spherical display and the interactive Shipwrecked! game, classroom space, boat storage areas, and extensive docks. The CIBC offers a new hub for advancing sanctuary partnerships with the Channel Islands Harbor, Ventura County and California State University, Channel Islands.
YOUTH ENVIRONMENTAL SUMMIT
Flower Garden Bank National Marine Sanctuary hosted the Youth Educational Summit of National Association of Black Scuba Diver June 2013. The week was dedicated to helping youth learn about the history of African Americans and their roots in nature. Youth participated in activities that introduced them to R/V Manta, drilling, kayaking, oyster bed restoration, surfing, coral reefs and diving. In addition, experiences with local citizens allowed them a first-hand view of life from the perspective of newly freed slaves. These experiences included an emancipation ceremony and a visit to Stringfellow Orchards to learn about former slaves.