news releases

09 September 2019

NOAA and HAF Hold Whale Watch Tour at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary for Latino Families in Celebration of Latino Conservation Week

Category: News Releases

On Saturday, July 13, Hispanic Access Foundation and Lawrence-based Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal, in partnership with NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, held a humpback whale watching tour for 84 church members and students from Lawrence Public Schools.

In celebrating the 6th annual Latino Conservation Week, participants learned about humpback whales and marine life, environmental career opportunities, and the protection of marine resources.
“We are pleased to collaborate with Hispanic Access to increase the engagement of the local Latino community in learning about whales and other marine life, to encourage students to think about potential environmental careers, and to support stewardship programs focused on protecting our treasured natural and cultural marine resources,” said Anne I. Smrcina, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
Located off the coast of Massachusetts, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary provides refuge for humpback whales that feed in the national marine sanctuary from April through December and migrate to lower latitudes in the Caribbean Sea, including the Dominican Republic, during the winter to mate and calve. In advance of the whale watch trip, students learned about whale migration, the intricate web of marine life in Cape Cod and Massachusetts bays, and the cultural and social connections between marine sanctuaries in the Eastern U.S. and the Caribbean. During the whale watch tour, students were asked to keep a sharp lookout for marine life, including whales, birds, basking sharks, ocean sunfish, jellyfish, sand lance and sea turtles.
“We want our youth and families to have meaningful educational experiences in the outdoors, and seeing the natural world in such a powerful, up-close way certainly qualifies,” said Pastor Victor Jarvis, Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal. “Not only does it change perspectives on the power and importance of nature, it encourages us all to embrace our moral obligation to preserve these treasures for those who will come after them.”
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as the trustee for a network of underwater parks encompassing more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington state to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa. The network includes a system of 13 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments.
“Latinos are passionate about enjoying the outdoors and their stewardship of places like Stellwagen is essential to protecting it for future generations,” said Marlene Manzo, program associate with Hispanic Access Foundation. “It’s vital to introduce Latinos to new opportunities, new locations and new ways to translate their passion for the outdoors into making a difference for our nation’s treasured natural resources.”
Latino Conservation Week, a nationwide initiative launched by Hispanic Access Foundation in 2014, helps create opportunities for Latinos across the country to demonstrate their passion for enjoying the outdoors and to cultivate their role as environmental stewards. More than 220 organizations, parks and agencies are anticipated to celebrate LCW with as many as 160 events across the country in 2019.

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