NOAA 2005-R411
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ben Sherman
3/1/05
NOAA News Releases 2005
NOAA Home Page
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GRAY’S REEF NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY
SPONSORS ‘FANTASTIC FISHES’ AWARD IN POPULAR SIDEWALK ARTS FESTIVAL

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary will offer three special awards for the best underwater marine environment scene drawn for Savannah, Georgia’s popular Sidewalk Arts Festival April 30. Gray’s Reef is one of 13 NOAA national marine sanctuaries that protect some 18,000 square miles of the nation’s oceans, Great Lakes and coasts. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Each year, hundreds of students, alumni and prospective students of the famous Savannah College of Art and Design create chalk drawings on the sidewalks around historic Forsyth Park during the one-day festival. The colorful event draws thousands of visitors to the park to view the ephemeral masterpieces.

This year, GRNMS will award three “Gray’s Reef Fantastic Fishes Award” for the most imaginative chalk interpretation of the marine environment. This year, the sanctuary is asking that artists portray ways of keeping debris out of the marine environment.

GRNMS Superintendent Reed Bohne will judge the underwater scenes. The winning images, along with the other Fantastic Fishes Award entries, will be posted on the sanctuary’s Web site and may be used to create a special poster following the festival.

“The Sidewalk Arts Festival is one of the most popular and creative events in Savannah. The SCAD students are endlessly imaginative in their use of color and chalk on concrete. We look forward to another year’s artistic exploration of ocean conservation and protection for our community,’’ Bohne said.

For more information on the SCAD Sidewalks Art Festival, see the college’s Web site at http://www.scad.edu/saf. Gray’s Reef is not accepting entries for the chalk art contest.

Designated in 1981, GRNMS is one of the largest near shore live-bottom reefs off the southeastern United States, encompassing approximately 17 square nautical miles. GRNMS consists of a series of sandstone outcroppings and ledges up to ten feet in height, in a predominantly sandy, flat-bottomed sea floor. The live bottom and ledge habitat support an abundant reef fish and invertebrate community. Loggerhead sea turtles, a threatened species, also use Gray’s Reef year-round for foraging and resting, and the reef is within the known winter calving ground for the highly endangered Northern Right Whale.

The NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program seeks to increase the public awareness of America’s maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs.

The NOAA National Ocean Service manages the NMSP and is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans. The National Ocean Service balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:

NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov

NOAA’s National Ocean Service: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov

National Marine Sanctuary Program: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov

Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary: http://www.graysreef.noaa.gov