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9th Annual Get Into Your Sanctuary Celebration:
Your Adventure Starts Here!
Saturday, July 9th, 2022

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is one of the most biodiverse areas in our world’s ocean. Birds, whales, sea otters, and harbor seals call the sanctuary home. Some of the best ways to experience the sanctuary are through the many on-the-water recreational activities like kayaking, surfing, scuba diving, sailing, and fishing. Always practice responsible wildlife viewing and be sure to take the wildlife pledge!

image of a surfer contemplating the swell at Lighthouse Point in MBNMSPhoto credits left to right: Jon Anderson, Meg McWhinney, Nathan Coy

Join us for these special events!

Day On The Beach

When: Saturday, July 9th, 2022, 10am – 4pm
Where: Cowell Beach and Sanctuary Exploration Center, Santa Cruz, CA
Registration: It's Free! Sign Up Here.

We are partnering with Santa Cruz–based Shared Adventures to present Day on the Beach—a day for individuals with special needs to experience ocean recreation and to highlight NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Get Into Your Sanctuary campaign. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Shared Adventures are celebrating 30 year anniversaries, and NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022!

Registered event participants through Shared Adventures will get to experience a full day of adaptive sports—kayaking, outrigger canoeing, SCUBA diving, beach wheelchair rides led by the Shared Adventures team, as well as recreational fishing from the Santa Cruz Wharf led by sanctuary staff and volunteers.

Free fish printing! The Sanctuary Exploration Center, adjacent to Cowell Beach, will offer fish printing activities hosted by NOAA Fisheries from 12pm–4pm for Day on the Beach participants and their families.

Day on the Beach will also feature local organizations on Cowell Beach that are working to help protect wildlife and promote environmental stewardship, including Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Collaborative, Sea Otter Savvy, City of Santa Cruz’s Climate Action Network, and Santa Cruz County Parks.

Want to get involved?

Volunteer with Shared Adventures to assist in the activities throughout the day! By volunteering, you will be invited to join an informational webinar on July 6th, 2022 to learn about the incredible biodiversity in the sanctuary, as well as receive an orientation to Day on the Beach activities. With your support on July 9th, you will receive a Day on the Beach t-shirt and a poster. Visit Shared Adventures and register to become a volunteer!


image collage of various people fishing in the sanctuaryPhoto credits left to right: NOAA, Jose Montes, Adam Helm
  ... but wait, there's more!

graphic of national park trust's passport logoBe sure to take photos of your fun along the way and post to your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account and tag @MBNMS using the hashtags #ILoveMySanctuary, #RecreateResponsibly, and #WildSanctuaries

Check out the scheduled line up of other Get Into Your Sanctuary virtual events from across the National Marine Sanctuary System from August 2nd – 8th, 2022, and be sure to download the National Park Trust’s ParkPassport app to earn your badge from each in person or virtual sanctuary event you join!

Take the pledge for wildlife! #WildSanctuaries


get in your sanctuary photo contest header image

Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest

Show the world what the ocean and Great Lakes mean to you.

In celebration of national Get Into Your Sanctuary events, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is hosting a photo contest. From Memorial Day weekend (May 29th) through Labor Day weekend (September 5th), send us your best photos of the National Marine Sanctuary System and help us celebrate the beauty and importance of these special places.

Winning photos will be announced in October 2022 as we celebrate the National Marine Sanctuary System's 50th anniversary, as well as featured in next year's Earth Is Blue Magazine and on the Earth Is Blue social media campaign. Please click on the year to view the winners of the 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 contests.

Remember to practice good ocean etiquette when taking your photos!

Photo Categories

Photos will be accepted from May 27th to September 5th in the following categories:

  • Sanctuary Views: Share your photos of beautiful sunsets or scenic shots of your favorite national marine sanctuary.
  • Sanctuary Life:Send us your best photos of sanctuary inhabitants like fish, birds, marine mammals, and other amazing ocean creatures.
  • Sanctuary Recreation: Enter your best images of people responsibly enjoying national marine sanctuaries, whether they’re boating, kayaking, diving, swimming, conducting research, or just hanging out on the beach. Photos should be taken following CDC and local guidance.
  • Sanctuaries at Home: Show us how you’re connecting to your National Marine Sanctuary System from home! Submissions to this category can include photos of stewardship activities from your home or neighborhood, or sanctuary-related artwork (paintings, drawings, etc.).

How to Enter

Submit your images (minimum of 1200 pixels wide, no more than 10) to us through this form. All images MUST include the following information: photographer's name, short description of when and where the photo was taken, and what is shown in the photo. If you would like us to tag you on Instagram if we share your photo there, please include your Instagram handle as well.

Remember to practice responsible recreation when taking your photos. When photographing marine mammals and other protected species, always follow wildlife viewing guidelines to ensure that you are not disturbing these animals. Help us highlight wildlife photography best practices by indicating what kind of camera/lens you used and the approximate distance from which you took the photo. Animals need plenty of space to stay healthy and safe, so let's share our collective knowledge of responsible photography!

Additional Contest Rules

  1. By submitting a photo, you agree to all rules of the Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest.
  2. Photographers must be at least 13 years of age or older as of the first day of the contest (May 29th, 2021).
  3. We will assume that, in submitting a photo, you are the owner of the photo and have the right to publish it (including permission/model release for anyone identifiably pictured).
  4. By submitting a photo, you are giving us permission to use the photo for other purposes, such as on our website, on social media, and in other NOAA and National Marine Sanctuary Foundation publications. We will, of course, provide credit to photographers whenever we use any of the photos. Organizations other than NOAA and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation may use photographs submitted in this contest to promote sustainable and responsible recreation in the National Marine Sanctuary System. These photos are not for sale and are not for commercial use unless prior permission is arranged
  5. Only photos taken while in compliance with wildlife viewing regulations and government approach regulations will be considered. Do not harass animals just to get the "perfect" shot!
  6. Follow all social distancing guidelines laid out by the CDC and your state and local guidance
  7. Photos that are submitted without information on the photographer and a brief caption will not be considered.
  8. No watermarks on submitted photos.
  9. Photos should be a minimum of 1200 pixels wide (but the bigger, the better!).
  10. Please limit the total number of your photo submissions to 10 entries.
  11. Only one form per person needs to be submitted for all entries. If you cannot submit via the form, send all information and photos to

Help Us Spread the Word!

Tell your friends about the contest on social media, and download the printable factsheet. Please use #ILoveMySanctuary and #RecreateResponsibly


Send them to!