DOWN UNDER OUT YONDER WINS GULF GUARDIAN AWARD
July 3, 2002
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary will receive a second place Gulf Guardian Award for 2002 in the Youth/Education Category for the Down Under, Out Yonder" education workshop. The award will be presented to representatives of the Flower Garden Banks at the Clean Gulf Conference scheduled for Nov. 5-7, in Galveston, Texas.
Three years ago the Gulf of Mexico Program developed the Gulf Guardian awards as a method of recognizing and honoring the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. Award entries were received from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. A first, second, and third place award are given each year in six categories individual, business, youth and education, nonprofit organizations, government, and partnership efforts.
The Gulf Guardian Awards take on special significance in 2002 as we celebrate 30 years since the passage of the Clean Water Act," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. The efforts of those being recognized as Gulf Guardians are key to our success as we address water issues. These award winners accepted the challenge and have joined us as we restore and protect our nation's waters for future generations."
"We are honored to have one of our programs selected for the Gulf Guardian Award!" said Shelley Dupuy, Education and Outreach Coordinator for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. The team effort among the sanctuary staff and with our partners and volunteers in the private sector are what make the education workshops successful. We hope to continue expanding the program with additional workshops every summer. Our goal for the Down Under, Out Yonder workshops is to offer teachers first hand experience with exploration and research. You cannot find that kind of background in a textbook. The enthusiasm sparked in the teachers is infectious to their students."
The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary was established in 1992. At a 1994 scoping meeting, constituents and staff identified teachers and K-12 students as two important target audiences for the newly established Sanctuary's Education Program. The first Down Under, Out Yonder workshop was conducted in July 1996 in response to requests from teachers for high quality, affordable, science-based, experiential learning workshops in the sanctuary. Workshop partners have included FGBNMS, Gulf of Mexico Foundation, Shell Oil Foundation, Cockrell Oil, BP Amoco, Texaco, Adopt-A-Wetland and Madge Griffith Elementary School. Advanced workshops were initiated at the request of past participants.
Gulf of Mexico Program Office Director Jim Giattina said, The Gulf Guardian Award exemplifies what the Gulf of Mexico Program is all about ‑‑ innovative solutions that come about when we pool resources and look for creative ways to positively impact our quality of life and economic well-being. We are all one Gulf community and have only one Gulf of Mexico. Projects like these are helping to protect our local coastal waters, which significantly contributes to the Gulf's beauty and value," said Giattina.
For a list of all the Gulf Guardian Award winners for 2002, visit the Gulf of Mexico Program web site at http://www.epa.gov/gmpo and click on the Gulf Guardian Award button on the left.
The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.
Editor's Note: For more information about the Gulf Guardian Awards and the Gulf of Mexico Program, call Terry Hines Smith at 228-688-1159. For more information about the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary or the Down Under, Out Yonder Education Workshop, call Shelley Dupuy at 979-779-2705.