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How We Work

Greg McFall/NOAA

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation supports critical research efforts to expand our understanding of ocean and Great Lakes ecosystems – and the threats affecting them. Science and exploration expeditions uncover shipwrecks and characterize biological resources, and monitoring cruises assess the health of marine and Great Lakes resources and ecosystems. The Foundation also sponsors restoration efforts to repair and protect vulnerable marine species and habitats.

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation works to connect communities with the sanctuaries in which we live, work, and play. To increase public awareness and to promote natural and cultural resource protection and stewardship, the Foundation sponsors outreach, education, and citizen science activities that directly involve communities in marine conservation efforts.

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation supports:

  • Critical research and monitoring of corals in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Control of invasive species that threaten habitats
  • Rehabilitation, release and tagging of seals and sea lions on the West Coast
  • Whale disentanglement and rescue
  • Incentive payments for vessel speed reduction programs in Santa Barbara
  • Installation of mooring buoys to protect corals from destructive use of anchors

To maximize the impact of science and conservation initiatives, the Foundation leverage resources by partnering with academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, businesses, and federal, state, and local governments to bring together the necessary expertise in innovative research, restoration, and community engagement to benefit America’s ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes.

Each year, we award millions of dollars for research, conservation, education and outreach projects that support sanctuaries.

 

Hollings Awards

Hollings Awards fund projects that connect thousands of Americans with the ocean and Great Lakes in their own backyards, through partnerships that positively impact national marine sanctuaries and their surrounding communities.

Annually, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation selects projects that link people to the sanctuaries near them. Projects raise awareness of critical challenges facing our ocean and Great Lakes, engage participants to be a part of the solution by taking action beyond guided program activities, and through hands on experiences, inspire the next generation of conservationists.

Recent Hollings Grant projects include:

  • Field trips for children to experience coastal and watershed environments
  • Interactive exhibits and programs at zoos, aquariums, and visitor centers
  • Outreach programs that help Americans learn about protected and endangered species
  • Helping citizens combat climate change locally
  • Support for community-driven sanctuary nominations and expansions

Hollings Awards applicants are currently selected by invitation only.

Learn more about 2017 Hollings Ocean Awareness Awards.

 

Partnership Project Grants and Awards

In addition to the Hollings Awards, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation also funds program-specific projects. Groups nationwide receive these awards to partner with the Foundation to complete projects related to ocean literacy, watershed education, sustainable fishing communities, and protected species. Projects help engage children and adults across the U.S. to be science-literate and aware of the challenges that face our ocean and Great Lakes–in protected areas like national marine sanctuaries and beyond. Funded projects include:

  • Immersive marine research mentorship experiences for pre-service and early-career educators
  • Science competitions that encourage students to pursue careers in STEM-related fields
  • Outreach events that help people understand the plight of protected marine species like leatherback sea turtles
  • Professional development workshops at aquariums and science centers across the U.S. that help teachers incorporate ocean exploration lessons in their classrooms

The Foundation accepts proposals for partnership projects on a rolling basis. To suggest a project for funding, please contact us at [email protected].

 

Restoration Following Environmental Crimes

When government authorities enforce and prosecute environmental crimes, polluters can and will be held responsible. Courts can require these violators to pay community service or restitution payments to organizations, like the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, to restore habitats harmed, protect species injured, and improve the health of the environment.

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation manages over $6 million in community service payments to support science, conservation, and restoration efforts in our sanctuaries and oceans.

The Foundation supports critical research efforts to expand our understanding of ocean and Great Lakes ecosystems – and the threats affecting them. Science and exploration expeditions uncover shipwrecks and characterize biological resources, and monitoring cruises assess the health of marine resources and ecosystems. The Foundation also sponsors restoration efforts to repair and protect vulnerable marine species and habitats.

 

Partnerships

Partnerships are critical to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s work. Through collaboration with local communities, government, corporations, and individual donors we are able to increase our impact. For more information on how to partner with the Foundation, please contact us at [email protected].