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Gulf News September-October 2010
       Newsletter from the Gulf of Mexico Foundation
Rio Research Roundup - click image to enlarge

In This Issue:

Event teaches students about watershed

GMF displays student art at FOCUS event

PRESIDENT: GMF continues its path, responds to spill

BOARD: Paul Kelly named GMF Director Emeritus

Measuring sea level rise effects in refuges

GMF Participates in CleanGulf 2010

Nanez-James attends summit in Mexico

Find GMF on FaceBook

  GMF Science & Spanish Club teacher Yolanda Aviles and her students from Martin Middle School gather water samples in Corpus Christi Bay as part of the Rio Research Roundup event.  
Event teaches students about watershed
October 2010 – More than 50 student teams took part in the Rio Research Roundup by gathering water samples along the Rio Grande watershed on or around October 6. The water testing project was coordinated by GMF's Science & Spanish Club Project Coordinator Richard Gonzales, in conjunction with the Rio Grande International Study Center's Dia del Rio 2010, which celebrates the Rio Grande as it courses from alpine Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico.
   Organizers distributed water quality kits to schools along the watershed. Using the kits, students took water samples in the river or estuary near their school. While in the field they measured 10 chemical parameters and tested the water for salinity and ph. Back in the classroom, they assessed their individual site, regional sites and the entire watershed.
   Several of the student groups participated in a related art project (see article below) and produced short videos of their project, which can be viewed at GMF's YouTube Channel.
   On October 16 the water samples were poured into the Gulf of Mexico during a ceremonial mixing near the mouth of the river at Boca Chica in South Texas. READ MORE
GMF displays student art at FOCUS event
October 2010 – GMF's Richard Gonzales, Doug Weaver and Suraida Nanez-James worked the GMF booth at the first FOCUS (Forests, Oceans, Climate and Us) event held at Artist Boat in Galveston on October 23.
   While Weaver and Nanez-James provided information about GMF's summer workshops for teachers, Gonzales collected votes from those attending the event to determine the top 10 pieces of artwork from the Rio Research Roundup (related article above). To enter the contest, students drew artwork on the lids of water samples they collected along the Rio Grande watershed.
  Internationally acclaimed eco-artist, Wyland, was at the FOCUS event to paint a mural. He stopped by the GMF's booth and picked his top three favorite drawings from the lot too. Texas Surfrider Foundation founder Ellis Pickett also stopped by the GMF booth and took an interest in the Rio Research Roundup exhibit. Surfrider Foundation has been instrumental in spearheading legislation aimed at protecting Gulf beaches.
   The winning entries of the lid art contest will be announced during the GMF's 6th Annual Gulf of Mexico Youth Leadership & Stewardship Conference to be held November 6 in Aransas Pass, Texas.

Ellis Pickett of Surfrider
Foundation, right, visits GMF's
FOCUS booth in Galveston.

Photo: Richard Gonzales/GMF
GMF continues its path, responds to spill
October 2010 - It has been a hectic summer! As the Foundation’s restoration and education programs continued to grow, we were faced with the specter of the Macondo Well blowout in April. I was in Mexico when this occurred, and having been a lead field technician during the IXTOC I well blowout in 1979, I had a good idea of what was about to transpire. All-in-all; I would have rather stayed in Mexico until it was over. As soon as I hit the airport in Cozumel for my return flight the phone began to ring, and it continued to do so for the next four months.
    We at the GMF took a position that reporting should be based on facts and the whole truth. This was not always a popular stance, but I am glad we did and would do the same if I were to do it again ...   CONTINUE READING PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
Dr. Quenton Dokken
GMF President/CEO
Dr. Quenton Dokken
Paul Kelly named GMF Director Emeritus
September 2010 - The Gulf of Mexico Foundation held its annual CEO Council/Board of Directors meeting in Houston in September, during which Paul Kelly stepped down as the Foundation's Board President. At the annual dinner, Kelly was recognized for the effort and hard work he has given. His efforts have helped grow the organization and provide expanded opportunities to improve the Foundation's mission of maintaining a healthy and economically sustainable Gulf of Mexico. His wife, Grace, was also recognized for her support and encouragement. Dr. Quenton Dokken was named President/CEO, and long-time member of the Board Wayne Johnson was elected as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Kelly was named Director Emeritus which will enable him to stay involved and a part of the GMF family.
Paul Kelly named GMF Director Emertus
Paul and Grace Kelly with
Dr. Quenton Dokken
Measuring sea level rise effects in refuges
September 2010 - GMF and the Habitat Conservation and Restoration Team (HCRT) of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance have moved forward with new sea level rise (SLR) modeling projects at sites around the Gulf. The modeling is intended to project potential impacts to coastal habitat at six National Wildlife Refuges, stretching from South Texas to the Florida Keys. Previous and ongoing efforts were reviewed in developing this expanded set of projects. To enhance results, the team developed minimum data criteria which were used to refine the site selections. Warren Pinnacle Consulting, the hired contractor, will use the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM) to conduct the work. HCRT continually works toward advancing SLR methodologies and results through internal workshops, working with partners and keeping close connections with ongoing research and tool development. To garner state-of-the-art techniques for future HCRT projects, GMF organized a Sea Level Rise Technical Forum November 3-4 in St. Petersburg, Florida, in which GMF Project Coordinator Mikell Smith took part.
Measuring Sea Level Rise in National Wildlife Refuges
Measuring Sea Level Rise
in National Wildlife Refuges
GMF Participates in CleanGulf 2010
October 2010 - GMF staff members Ryan Fikes and Bobbi Reed participated in the 20th annual CleanGulf 2010 held in Tampa, Florida, October 18-20. This year's event was devoted entirely to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The conference was very well attended and brought in a number of participants from other countries, including Norway, Holland, Costa Rica and Mexico. Much of the conference was devoted to lessons learned and plans for improving spill prevention processes and spill clean-up methodologies. GMF's booth at the exhibit hall was well visited and received a lot of attention with its message of coastal habitat restoration and outreach education. Next year's CleanGulf conference will be held in San Antonio, Texas, November 30 - December 1, 2011.
CleanGulf 2010
Nanez-James attends summit in Mexico
September 2010 – GMF's Suraida Nanez-James was one of three US representatives to take part in a regional workshop for Gulf of Mexico environmental education held September 8-10 in Jalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. The workshop was hosted by the Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem Project in partnership with NOAA and several Mexican federal agencies. Outreach and education directors and specialists from both US and Mexican Gulf states took part in the collaborative effort. The workshop's goal was to gather ideas to help develop an Environmental Education Regional Strategy made up of representatives from both the US and Mexico. "The workshop was a great opportunity for American and Mexican environmental educators to come together and talk about our areas of interests, as well as the areas in education and outreach we both believe need more attention. I am excited to see what kind of international projects the GMF will initiate in the coming year," said Nanez-James.
GMF's Suraida Nanez-James - click image to enlarge
GMF's Suraida Nanez-James
at Mexico workshop
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