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.
Charlie Rice is Skidaway Institute’s new HVAC specialist, replacing Neil Mizell, who recently retired from Skidaway Institute. He was born and raised in Savannah. Charlie is married and has a nine year old son.
Skye Mills is a public relations and communications intern at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. She will graduate from Armstrong State University in May 2017 with a B.A. in English and professional communications. Skye is a native of the Savannah area.
“I enjoy my southern and coastal roots,” she said. “I spend as much time as I can in my kayak, strolling the beach, or immersing myself in Savannah’s rich history.
Skye says she wants to work for something that matters and makes a difference. “I wanted to work for a cause that I can get behind and at Gray’s Reef I really feel like I am accomplishing that.”
The Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary hosted the second annual FareWhale Festival at the Tybee Island Pier on Saturday, March 21.
FareWhale Festival exhibits on the Tybee Island Pier
The FareWhale Festival used a play on words to invite the public to celebrate the northward migration of the North Atlantic right whales as they begin to leave their calving grounds offshore of Georgia and Florida to return to the cooler seas off the New England coast near Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
Two children negotiate the right whale obstacle course.
Gray’s Reef recruited 17 exhibitors to join in the venture to bring to light the plight of the critically endangered whales by educating visitors through fun activities and relevant information. The exhibits and activitries included a photo booth; a right whale obstacle course (whale tails provided); interpretive beach walks provided by Cathy Sakas; a whale presentation given by the Tybee Island Marine Science Center; and an inflatable right whale that is 22 feet long (about the size of a one year old calf). Tybee Arts Association sold ocean or right whale inspired artwork with ten percent of the proceeds going to the Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
“We estimate that around 500 people attended the event, almost double from last year,” said Abby Murphy, one of the organizers.
Gray’s Reef partnered with the Sea to Shore Alliance to host the event.