The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary was honored when it was awarded $50,000 by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation this week.
The Ernest F. Hollings Ocean Awareness Award was established in 2005 as a commitment to the legacy of former U.S. Senator Ernest F. Hollings. Senator Hollings authored a remarkable number of laws to protect the nation’s oceans and coasts. He hoped to provide the public with an increased understanding of the value of our oceans and lakes, which would in turn encourage them to protect these unique resources with the same gusto he did.
And that’s exactly what the foundation recognized in the sanctuary here in Alpena. With the proposed, ‘Get Into Your Sanctuary’ campaign, Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary will use this grant to create a year–round outreach program to strengthen public engagement, as well as put Alpena on the map as a tourist destination.
From social media to outdoor signage, the Friends of Thunder Bay will be doing everything they can to take advantage of this opportunity, as it will be used as a model for sanctuaries nationwide to replicate.
“It’ll be everything through social media, to outdoor signage, to radio and TV publicity and advertising… to really encourage people to come and explore the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary from paddling, to diving to swimming to fishing. All of those things that are forms of sustainable tourism,” says Director of Friends, Katie Wolf.
Wolf adds that with matching dollars provided by regional entities, there is no limit on the impact this grant could have.