Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association protecting our ocean wilderness through public stewardship
Fall 2011 Protecting Our Ocean Wilderness Through Public Stewardship  www.farallones.org Subscribe


America's Cup Healthy Ocean Partner

Partnering to Save Whales

LiMPETS: Training Citizen Scientists

Support Your Sanctuary

Donate to FMSA today!


FMSA Events


Nov 21, 12-1pm
Shipwrecks of the Golden Gate
A Brown Bag Lunchtime Talk
Fort Mason Park Bldg. 201, 1st Floor
Dr. James P. Delgado, NOAA Director of the Maritime Heritage With Introduction by Stephen A. Haller, GGNRA Senior Historian



Dec 10, 3:30 to 6:30 PM
Winter Evening Kayak Tour
Sanctuary Exploration Series, Heavenly Bodies and Harbor Lights: Encounter seals as the sun sets, seabirds on the shore. Gaze at shimmering lights festooning our local fishing fleet, and buy Dungeness crabs fresh off the boat under a rising full moon. Pillar Point’s annual Harbor Lights Ceremony was never so enticing – what better way to launch your holiday season?!

First time and experienced kayakers are welcome. $60 per person. Minimum age: 15; youths must be accompanied by an adult. Space is limited -- reservations required! Contact Erica at ewarren@farallones.org



Visitor Center Programs
All programs: 10-12, 1-3
Registration required!
Contact Peter Winch to register. Or register from our website.

Dec 17 &18
Plankton & Pastry
Plankton and Pastry is an exciting exploration of the weird and wonderful world of plankton in the waters just off Crissy Field. Be dazzled by diatoms, dinoflagellates, and copepods. Participants get to collect their own samples and use their own microscopes.

Marine Science Private Event for Children
Host an event in one of the most stunning locations in the Presidio— overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island.

Our Visitor Center Naturalist will lead your group of children in a catch and release fishing exploration of crabs from our pier classroom as well as a guided tour of the Gulf of the Farallones Visitor Center (including a special feeding of the animals!) This unique program includes the use of our pier classroom for your private group. We offer a limited number of these extraordinary events.

Registration required by contacting: Peter Winch (415) 561-6625 x310

America's Cup Healthy Ocean Partner

The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association have been invited to serve as advisors to the America’s Cup local Healthy Ocean Initiative. The Sanctuary Superintendent was recognized, along with other local and global leaders in the arena of ocean conservation, at the official launch of the project on October 17th at Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco.

The San Francisco focused advisory effort consists of National Marine Sanctuaries/NOAA represented by the GFNMS Superintendent Maria Brown and FMSA Executive Director Terri Watson, Dr. Sylvia Earle and Mission Blue, The Marine Mammal Center's E.D. Jeff Boehm, David Lewis, E.D. of Save the Bay, and is being hosted and coordinated by John Frawley, President and CEO of Aquarium of the Bay.

The America's Cup is organized around three essential tenets -- the best sailors on the fastest boats, unparalleled accessibility of the race to the viewing public, and a large-scale commitment to sustainability. In the area of sustainability, one major focus area is the Healthy Oceans Project --- an effort to utilize the mammoth media-reach and visibility of the America's Cup event to serve as an effective platform for critical messages of ocean health and their importance to the health and prosperity of our world.

The America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) has set a goal to develop a multi-faceted outreach program which will focus on improving ocean health through inspiration and education. Marine conservation and environmental stewardship will be prominent throughout all America’s Cup events. San Francisco will be the host of the America’s Cup World Series in August 2012 and a series of regattas culminating in the actual America’s Cup Race between July and September of 2013. The America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project working group will be heavily engaged in the coming two years to develop effective outreach utilizing the exciting opportunities leveraged by this event. For more information, see the America's Cup Healthy Ocean Project website.


Partnering to Save Whales

Some of our most famous and charismatic guests at the sanctuary are the several species of whale that visit every year. Blues, fin and humpback whales arrive in these waters around May and stay through November. The gray whale passes through on its southward migration to Baja around December and returns around March and April. Sanctuary managers and the public want to ensure that these beautiful animals are protected during their stay in the sanctuary, both from heavy ship traffic and the underwater noise that this traffic can produce.

Whales in the region are potentially at risk of ship strike (being killed or injured by a ship hitting them at high speed) or from a decreased ability to communicate with other whales and navigate with their sonar due to loud underwater noise. Imagine trying to have a conversation with your friend at restaurant where the music is blasting and fifty other people are talking around you-- that's what it's like for the whales!

Leslie Abramson, working on one of FMSA’s new sponsored projects, has been heavily focused on this issue with partners and the west coast sanctuary sites. Thanks to support from the Switzer Environmental Leadership Foundation, Leslie was able to reach-out to the international community at the International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas, held on the French Caribbean island of Martinique. There, she shared with Marine Protected Area managers and scientists all over the world what the sanctuary is doing to protect whales when they are in our waters-- and how they can do the same in their country. Her poster, which outlines the four major approaches to this problem, was displayed during the conference.  Click here to download Leslie's poster as a .pdf file.

Whales and ships are both globe trotters-- they regularly travel thousands of miles and know no boundaries. They pass in and out of marine protected areas, national waters and the high seas alike. That is why the global community needs to come together, break down our man-made political boundaries and work to protect whales worldwide.


LiMPETS: Training Citizen-Scientists

The LiMPETS program continues to engage hundreds of Bay Area youth in hands-on marine science despite losing one of its core funders this year to Congressional cuts of the federal budget: NOAA’s Bay Watershed Education and Training Program.

Thankfully, several other key supporters have stepped up to make it possible to continue this valuable program. Notably, we received heartwarming contributions from numerous individuals who rallied to support LiMPETS during our funding crunch early in the year – a special thanks to each of you.

We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to the following institutional funders of the LiMPETS program:

  • Anonymous Individual Major Donor
  • Autodesk
  • California Sea Grant
  • Cisco Systems Foundation
  • Cleo Foundation
  • Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund
  • Gant Family Foundation
  • The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • PADI Foundation
  • Wells Fargo Foundation
  • Whale Tail License Plate Program

Thanks to these important funders, middle and high school students have the opportunity to become citizen-scientists as they collect scientific data on invertebrates such as the Pacific mole crab and ochre sea star at key locations along the coast.

Beyond this outdoor classroom experience, students continue learning after they return to their classroom. The data students collect is far from a mock investigation, in fact, students enter their data into the LiMPETS database and can access historic data reaching back to 2001! Both scientists and students use this long-term dataset to look for changes over time. After monitoring, students often spend several class periods graphing their data and relating it to “big picture” issues about the marine ecosystem and the human impact on the environment.

Do you have a California Whale Tail Specialized License Plate? Then you too are a supporter of the LiMPETS program! The profit from these license plates funds important marine education work including the LiMPETS program. Thanks for supporting the Whale Tail License Plate program that makes our work possible.


Support Your Sanctuary

America is a nation blessed with natural beauty and special places. Our national parks, forests, marine sanctuaries and other public lands and waters are unique national treasures. Thankfully, our democracy supports the vital concept of “public lands” – areas of our nation so special, so important, that they are held for the benefit of the many rather than privatized for the good of a few. The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is one of these irreplaceable ocean treasures.

The future of our planet and our species is inextricably linked to a healthy ocean. This fundamental fact should guide our every interaction with the seas. However, scientists instead warn that the harmful impacts of climate change, overexploitation and pollution are causing devastating loss of marine biodiversity. We must all do our part to reverse this trend. We simply cannot afford to let our national treasures be wasted. It is our job to support the amazing ocean outside the Golden Gate, but we simply cannot do it without your help.  

Please support the marine sanctuary by making a donation today.

As this is our last issue of Upwelling for 2012, we would like to thank you for your support and wish you and your family a healthy and peaceful holiday season and new year.