Category Archives: noaa

Sarah Fangman moves to Florida Keys NMS

By Michele Riley
Gray’s Reef recently announced that NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has selected Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary superintendent, Sarah Fangman, as the new superintendent for its sister sanctuary, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Sarah has been a dear member of the Gray’s Reef family and will be an effective leader for the Keys. She has been with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries since 1998. Sarah moved to Savannah in 2005 to serve as the program coordinator for the sanctuary system’s Southeast, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean region, and worked in the Florida Keys extensively before becoming the superintendent of Gray’s Reef in 2014.

Gray’s Reef remains in good hands as Aria Remondi, on temporary assignment from NOAA Headquarters, is serving as acting superintendent at Gray’s Reef until September. Following, in the fall will be George Sedberry, also in an acting capacity. George is the science coordinator for the sanctuary system’s Southeast, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean region and is based here on campus. Many readers might already know George, since he previously served as Gray’s Reef’s superintendent in the mid-2000s.


14th Annual Gray’s Reef Film Festival expands to Tybee Island and adds second 3D Night

by Michelle Riley / GRNMS

Moviegoers gave rave reviews to the Gray’s Reef Film Festival’s first-ever “3D Night” last year, spurring Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary to offer two consecutive nights of 3D fun for the upcoming festival. The sanctuary also is expanding the event’s reach by adding a daytime showing at the Tybee Post Theater.

“We’re having a lot of fun putting together this year’s festival,” said organizer Chris Hines, deputy superintendent of Gray’s Reef.  “Our theme this year is ‘Our Community, Our Ocean.’ These beautiful movies highlight the deep bond with nature and the ocean that we are so fortunate to experience as a coastal community, and how important a healthy ocean is to preserving our way of life.”

Galapagos sea lion and a lava lizard from "Galapagos 3D."

Galapagos sea lion and a lava lizard from “Galapagos 3D.”

On tap for the 3D showings at the Trustees Theater Feb. 3-4 are “Galapagos 3D: Nature’s Wonderland,” “The Last Reef 3D,” “Wonders of the Artic 3D,” and “Secret Ocean 3D.” “Galapagos 3D” is directed by award winner Martin Williams, who is well known for his documentaries with David Attenborough. “The Last Reef 3D” was shot in five different countries and is the production of Academy Award nominees Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, while “Wonders of the Arctic 3D” is a sweeping film by David Lickley, who describes himself as a “wilderness environmental-themed filmmaker. “Secret Ocean 3D” is a beautiful jewel of a movie by Jean-Michel Cousteau.

The Tybee Post Theater offerings on Feb. 5 will include a delightful sampling of films from the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival, the premier venue in North America for ocean-related movies, most of which are largely unavailable to the general public.

“Our partnership with the Tybee Post Theater this summer exceeded our expectations, with more than 1,000 attendees expressing their interest in ocean-themed movies,” said Hines. “We are excited to expand the film festival and deepen our engagement with our beach communities.”

Like last year, Gray’s Reef suggests a donation of $10 per day for adults, $5 per day for children, students and military, to benefit the Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

Changes at Gray’s Reef

chris-hines-headshot-1-wChris Hines is the new Deputy Superintendent for State Programs at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. After joining Gray’s Reef as a volunteer in 2014, Chris served as the initial executive director of Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and as the part-time Partnership Development Manager for the sanctuary. A NOAA diver, Chris has diverse experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, including four years at a nonprofit in Tanzania, a State Department fellowship, and four years in the corporate sector. Originally hailing from California, Chris received his B.S. in Business from Purdue University and M.S. in International Public Service from DePaul University.

vicki-weeks-1-wVicki Weeks is the new executive director of the GRNMS Foundation.  Vicki graduated from Southern Illinois University with a degree in psychology. Shortly thereafter she began her love affair with the sea. She was the first female diver on Mel Fisher’s Treasure Salvors dive team in Key West, Fla. When her landlady tired of musket balls and pottery shards in lieu of rent, she became a SCUBA instructor, opened a dive shop and taught more than 400 people to dive.

Vicki went on to serve on the founding board of Reef Relief, a nonprofit organization that installed the first mooring buoys along the Florida Keys reef tract, as well as on the first advisory council for the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary. She eventually became a nonprofit development consultant and served as the executive director for two healthcare organizations.

Since moving to Savannah, she has returned to her environmental roots, helping clients successfully build community support for environmental issues ranging from banning offshore drilling, to stronger EPA regulatory action on greenhouse gasses, to saving southern forests from clear-cutting by the wood pellet biofuels industry.

When not assisting environmental activists, she enjoys writing and has been published in regional and national magazines. Her first novel, Code of Honor, was released in 2015.

marybeth-head-1-wEnsign Marybeth Head is the new vessel operations coordinator at Gray’s Reef. She replaces Lieutenant Jared Halonen, who has been assigned to NOAA headquarters.

Marybeth was previously stationed aboard the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, a hydrographic survey ship in Norfolk, Va.  She is a PADI divemaster and has her 50-ton USCG license. Prior to NOAA Corps, she worked as an assistant dive safety officer and as a charter boat deckhand. Marybeth grew up in Applegate, Ore. and graduated from Oregon State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife with a specialization in Marine Ecology.  She has been a big fan of sea critters for as long as she can remember!


Kimberly Roberson new research coordinator at Gray’s Reef

kim-roberson-wKimberly Roberson is the new research coordinator for Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

Kimberly began working with NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science’s Biogeography Branch in 2005 and joined the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in 2016. Kim received her bachelor of science degree from Berry College in Rome, Ga. She earned her master of science degree from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia where she conducted research on leatherback sea turtles, using genetics to explore connectivity between nesting populations and pelagic individuals. Prior to NOAA, Kim worked with the National Park Service in St. Croix, USVI, conducting research and implementing conservation measures on endangered and threatened species.

Kim uses diving as a tool for research and has been a NOAA certified diver since 2005 and a NOAA divemaster since 2006. She served as the National Ocean Service Diving Officer for three years and chaired the NOAA Diving Control and Safety Board for two years. Her early NOAA work had her diving, conducting fish counts and assessing the potential research area boundaries of Gray’s Reef.

Kim is originally from Tennessee and developed a love for the ocean during family vacations to the coast. She enjoys spending time outside, running, swimming, playing and exploring with her husband and two young sons.