Gulf Stream September-October 2012 - Gulf of Mexico Foundation

Foundation News

GMF's Habitat Restoration Training Center: On Track for Excellence
Carefully designed to meet the needs of the Gulf community

The design process for the GMF's new training center has yielded a greener site plan that will integrate nicely with surrounding wetlands. Click the image to see the interior layout.

Slated to open at the beginning of 2014, the GMF's new Center will benefit from a meticulous design process that has carefully considered the professional development programming and innovative educational curriculum that will emanate from the facility. Program offerings will support science education for students and teachers, enhance specialized skills for professionals in some key job sectors, and help build a prepared citizen volunteer workforce. Reaching out to partners has been fruitful and is key to developing a facility and program that will serve the Gulf. Our relationship with the Region 4 Education Service Center in Houston provides critical expertise and distribution capacity. NOAA's Disaster Response Center, newly opened in Mobile, is another key partner developing curriculum in collaboration with the GMF. Read about trainings we are developing in partnership with them in the next issue of GulfStream. High-tech distance learning centers at both facilities will provide for a rich, interactive multi-media learning experience onsite and reach more people at lower cost by connecting other locations around the Gulf. Engaging GMF staff and key partners early on has ensured the facilities will accommodate the activities that will take place and the high-tech capabilities required to deliver educational content effectively. A fully-equipped teaching lab will facilitate hands-on learning experiences. Combining classrooms produces a spacious venue optimized for small conferences, community events, and tasteful receptions. The adjacent lobby adds event space and serves as an interactive welcome center for the 15-acre Wetland Education Park next door. Partnering ensures the Center leverages existing resources toward augmenting our collective capacity. Contact Program Manager Mike Smith about partnership opportunities and program offerings.


Education & Training

Foundation Announces First "Master Teachers" in the Gulf
Environmental education track for teachers

Teachers Janene Fowler (left) and Ed Walk (right) pose for a picture after a great day of diving and discussion.

PHOTO: Suraida Nañez-James, GMF

The Gulf of Mexico Foundation is proud to announce its first Master Teachers. The Master Teacher Program is an interdisciplinary training program that further develops the capabilities of exceptional teachers in environmental, marine, and conservation sciences by working closely with Foundation staff and partners on the development of educational resources. Janene Fowler, McCullough Junior High School in the Woodlands, Texas and Edward Walk, Veterans Memorial High School in Brownsville, Texas, are both dedicated, passionate science educators that go beyond the call of duty when it comes to bringing the underwater world to their students. They were chosen because of their educational and science expertise in the field of curriculum development and research. Janene and Edward joined GMF staff, scientific experts, and industry partners on a Gulf diving expedition to film on the utilization of obsolete platform jackets as artificial reef structures. Through round table discussions and film interviews, the dynamic duo provided their professional perspective on what resources and tools are needed in the classroom to engage students on the topic of artificial reefs. "I have been diving at the Flower Gardens for 13 years and this experience topped them all. To be diving and working with a team of people having such high levels of diverse knowledge and skills was truly incredible. The diversity of life on and around the platforms drives home the need for science, industry, and the public to come together to find ways to keeps these resources intact. Being able to bring these real world experiences back to the classroom impacts learning at a whole new level. " stated Fowler.


Conservation & Restoration

Industry, Academics, & Resource Managers Partner for Successful Expedition
Artificial reefs and CMSP among key topics


In October 2012 the Gulf of Mexico Foundation hosted the Annual Government/Industry Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Expedition. Representatives from state and federal resource management agencies, the offshore oil and gas industry, and the Gulf of Mexico Foundation spent three days aboard the M/V Fling exploring the habitats of the Flower Garden Banks Sanctuary, as well as artificial reef complexes managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. And, just as importantly, presentations by all represented groups provided management topics for robust discussions. Topics discussed included the "rigs to reefs" artificial reef program, contingency planning for catastrophic events, and coastal and marine spatial planning. This interactive program provides a forum for the discussion of topics critical to sustaining the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico and the commercial interests that support coastal communities and national security.


Making A Difference

GMF Continues Collaboration with Mexico through LME Project
GMF President on board with international effort


Dr. Quenton Dokken, President of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, continued to serve as an advisor to the Larger Marine Ecosystem (LME) project. Funded by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the LME is directed by Dr. Porfirio Alvarez Torres. Dr. Bonnie Ponwith, Director of the NOAA/NMF Southeast Fisheries Research Center, represents the United States on the management team. She and Dr. Alvarez are joined by Dr. Antonio Diaz de Leon Corral of SEMARNAT, Mexico's counterpart to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The LME program is a significant effort to view and manage the Gulf of Mexico as a single ecosystem, such as it should be. Resource management across international boundaries has always been problematic and collaborative programs such as LME represent giant steps forward in developing effective collaborative strategies. The United States, Mexico, and Cuba share equal dependencies on the Gulf of Mexico and face the same challenges of sustainability. The Gulf of Mexico Foundation strives to be a productive partner in this effort. To read more about the LME project please click here.


Gulf of Mexico Foundation

Gulf of Mexico Foundation   |   PMB 51, 5403 Everhart   |   Corpus Christi, TX 78411
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