California State Coastal Conservancy Approves Grant for Sanctuary Exploration Center

The California State Coastal Conservancy has approved a $500,000 grant to the City of Santa Cruz for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center. The grant will be disbursed for use in the construction of interpretive exhibits.

“This is a major milestone for the Sanctuary Exploration Center project here in Santa Cruz. We are extremely grateful to the Conservancy for this grant,” said Fred Keeley, chairman of the Leadership Committee for the Sanctuary Exploration Center’s capital campaign and treasurer for Santa Cruz County. State Senator Joe Simitian (11th District), Assemblyman Bill Monning (27th District), and Congressman Sam Farr (CA-17) contributed additional letters of support.

Construction began last month on the 12,333-square-foot facility being built by the City of Santa Cruz in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Sanctuary Program and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. Approximately 200,000 visitors per year are expected to visit the Exploration Center, which will be located near the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Interactive exhibits within the facility will introduce visitors to Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and educate them about the important role people have in protecting the ocean.

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has undertaken a $3 million private campaign in support of the interpretive exhibits for the Sanctuary Exploration Center. The Foundation has raised approximately $1.6 million to date. This most recent grant will bring the exhibit fund to $2.1 million.

“We are well on our way to completing the campaign, and we continue to look forward to strong support from the City of Santa Cruz and its community members,” said Jason Patlis, CEO of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The capital campaign is expected to be completed next year, and the Sanctuary Exploration Center’s Grand Opening is slated for the summer of 2012.

About the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation:
The National Marine Sanctuary System represents America's underwater treasures: a network of 14 federally protected areas, encompassing over 150,000 square miles in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Great Lakes. The Foundation was created to help foster conservation-based research, education, and outreach programs designed to connect the American public with these unique marine environments. For more information, visit www.NMSFocean.org.

Contact:
Sarah van Schagen
Communications and Outreach Manager
National Marine Sanctuary Foundation
301-608-3040 x5

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