Abbigail Rigdon

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2013


Gray’s Reef is a National Marine Sanctuary located 20 miles off the coast of Georgia. The discontinuous clumps of rocks and ledges found at Gray’s Reef provide surfaces for various temperate and tropical marine flora and fauna to grow upon. The location of the sanctuary makes it the most southern point for many temperate species, and the most northern point for numerous tropical species. The distance of the sanctuary from the mainland, however, creates difficulties for residents of Georgia to have a connection with the reef, and prevents them from understanding how their actions can affect its health. Gray’s Reef seeks to create awareness of the reef, and encourages environmentally conscious behavior. Many outreach activities are already in place, such as Remote Operated Vehicle (ROY) competitions and workshops, the Gray’s Reef Ocean Film Festival (which features a short film competition), and various exhibits on display throughout Georgia. While these events and activities reach many people and cover a variety of topics, there is still a need for watershed outreach focused on the general public. My project focused on fulfilling Gray’s Reef s need for watershed outreach. To achieve my goal, I provided alternative ways to engage the public in Georgia’s watersheds and how they affect Gray’s Reef. This assortment of methods included fact sheets containing information about watersheds, runoff, household poll ution and their relation to Gray’s Reef, a cartoon addressing the issue of anthropogenic causes of eutrophication, and a step-by-step guide for creating a rain barrel. Additionally, I distributed a survey to determine the effectiveness of the fact sheets on readers. The survey revealed that the fact sheets that I created were successful in informing my audience, and they felt persuaded to practice several of the suggested methods of individual pollution reduction. The products I created are easily distributed, and will be placed on the Gray’s Reef website and used by a range of non-profit organizations. This project was challenging, and allowed me to actively use the knowledge gained from schooling for a real outreach campaign.


Department: MAF

MPS Track: MCO

Location: National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary

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