Get Into Your Sanctuary 2020

It’s that time of year again – the Get Into Your Sanctuary celebration hosted by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS)! The annual event is a way to showcase the beauty and wonder of sanctuaries and all the opportunities they offer for recreation and tourism. This year marks the fifth annual Get into Your Sanctuary celebration, and focuses on raising awareness about the value of our national marine sanctuaries as iconic destinations for responsible recreation and tourism through a series of special activities. Help us spread the word using the hashtags #RecreateResponsibly, #ILoveMySanctuary, and #VirtualGIYS to show us how you enjoy your national marine sanctuaries. 

For the 2020 iteration of Get Into Your Sanctuary, the official event schedule includes virtual dives, lionfish cooking demos, historic shipwreck  explorations, and more, all of which are free and accessible to all! The event will begin on Friday, July 31 and continue through Sunday, August 2. Learn all about the unique ways to experience the National Marine Sanctuary System through 24 unique virtual opportunities here. All of the events will be available through Facebook Live and Facebook Watch Party. To attend, simply visit NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Facebook page.

Alongside the family-friendly celebration of your National Marine Sanctuary System, ONMS hosts an annual Get Into Your Sanctuary photo contest, which this year runs from May 23 to September 7, 2020. Send your best photos from sites across the National Marine Sanctuary System to showcase your work and celebrate the wonders and importance of these iconic places in America’s ocean and Great Lakes. There are four contest categories: Sanctuary Views, Sanctuary Life, Sanctuary Recreation, and Sanctuaries at Home. And the photos do not need to have been taken this year. Winning photographers will have their work showcased in the annual Earth is Blue Magazine and in other publications celebrating our sanctuaries! 

Protecting America’s most iconic natural and cultural marine resources, our national marine sanctuaries are teeming with life and support a broad range of activities for people to enjoy. From kayaking to fishing to whale watching, the majority of national marine sanctuaries’ waters are open to compatible and sustainable recreational activities that generate considerable benefits for local economies and communities. Want to know what you can do in your local or favorite sanctuary? Activities might include diving, surfing, fishing, stand up paddle boarding, watching wildlife, snorkeling, or boating to name a few. To learn which sanctuary allows which activities, click here

An excellent way to find out what sanctuaries have to offer is through the ParkPassport app. Thanks to a partnership between the Foundation, the National Park Trust, Blue Star Families and ONMS, the app now features national marine sanctuaries and monuments alongside national parks, local parks and other recreation sites. The app allows users to find information about nearby sanctuaries and monuments, earn badges for activities at the sanctuaries, such as fishing or snorkeling, and access resources for a virtual visit. Download the ParkPassport app today!

While there are so many things to do around the sanctuaries, this weekend and the week leading up to it is also about promoting Responsible Recreation and being kind to our blue planet. This means researching about wildlife and ecosystems before visiting, keeping a safe distance from wildlife, taking only pictures and memories not anything else, and cleaning up after yourself. And if you choose to enjoy your sanctuaries in person this summer, please remember to practice proper social distancing, look up local regulations before you go, and be mindful of how you can help curb the spread of COVID-19.  

We can’t wait to see how you choose to Get Into Your Sanctuary this summer!