NOAA 200th Celebration Chronicle

Participate in the 200th action, even if you can't be there! NOAA employees attending major 200th events throughout the year will be posting logs and photos chronicling activities. Check back often to see how we are celebrating two centuries of science, service, and stewardship.

Please note that by visiting the links below, you are leaving a Web site maintained by the United States Government and does not imply that NOAA endorses their products and/or policies.

July 31st, 2007

NOAA’s Thomas Jefferson Visits Alexandria

July 25 - Alexandria, VA

On July 25, the Thomas Jefferson, one of a fleet of research and survey vessels used by NOAA to improve our understanding of the marine environment, moored in Alexandria, Virginia, to kick off one of the highlights of NOAA’s ongoing 200th Anniversary celebration.

The festivities began with the opening ceremony. Speaking at the ceremony were many NOAA officials and the Mayor of Alexandria. One of the highlights of the ceremony was the unveiling of an oil painting of the Thomas Jefferson.

Tours were given for the rest of the day Wednesday and public tours were given all day Thursday. All together, over 700 people visited the ship, including the Oceanographer of the Navy and a group of students from Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria.

Tours conducted for visitors included demonstrations of the ship’s various survey acquisition systems and colorful, high-resolution data products. Visitors were also entertained with stories of past hydrographic adventures, such as the relief efforts provided by the ship after the devastating hurricane season of 2005.




April 19th, 2007

Dauphin Island Sea Lab Discovery Day

April 15 - Dauphin Island, AL

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama (DISL) held its annual Open House on Saturday with special partner NOAA.

This free, fun-filled family event included a variety of environmentally themed children’s activities. The public was invited to meet the scientists and graduate students of the Sea Lab and view their ongoing research projects.

DISL’s Discovery Day was also the groundbreaking for the new Richard C. Shelby Center for Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management, a National Marine Fisheries Service building. NOAA officials Tim Keeney, Captain Rick Brown, and Dr. Richard Spinrad spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony to kick of the special day.

As a marine laboratory, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s mission encompasses marine science education, marine science research, coastal zone management policy, and general public education through the Estuarium, DISL’s public aquarium. Located on the eastern tip of Dauphin Island, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, the DISL is surrounded by Mobile Bay, Mississippi Sound, and the waters of the Gulf, making it perfectly situated for a wide range of marine science activities.

Kids and parents enjoyed the various activities of the day, gathering goodies as they toured the Sea Lab, both inside and out.

Government Officials, DISL Representatives, and NOAA Officials break ground on the new research facility

Government officials, DISL representatives, and NOAA officials break ground on the new research facility.

Visitors and volunteers toured the estuarium and other exhibits

Visitors and volunteers toured the Estuarium and other exhibits at the Sea Lab.

NOAA employees from the Gulf of Mexico region and beyond gather after the groundbreaking to recognize the 200th celebration

NOAA employees from the Gulf of Mexico region and beyond gather after the groundbreaking to recognize the 200th celebration.

A participant in Discovery Day gets a NOAA logo painted on his face

A Discovery Day participant gets a NOAA logo painted on his face.

April 19th, 2007

Five Rivers Center Grand Opening

April 14 - Spanish Fort, AL

Greetings from Alabama!

NOAA started out its weekend of festivities with the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Five Rivers Center in Spanish Fort, Alabama, near Mobile. The new Nature Center Complex, part of the Five Rivers-Delta Resource Center, opened Friday. The Five Rivers is designed to promote the headwaters of Mobile Bay, focusing on the Tensaw River Delta.

The center, managed by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, aims to promote outdoor recreation, conservation education, and land stewardship. Five Rivers occupies more than 80 acres in Spanish Fort. It features wharfs, walking trails, and landings for canoe and kayak tours. It is designed to serve both as a recreational gateway to the Delta and as a focal point for conservation and environmental education efforts. The center includes a visitors’ center, a facility for renting or buying canoes and kayaks, walking trails, picnic shelters, and educational kiosks.

The Mobile-Tensaw Delta is the second-largest river delta in the nation and is a prime location to see wildlife, especially along the Bartram Canoe Trail. The center is located across from Meaher State Park on the Mobile Bay Causeway in Spanish Fort.

The 5 Rivers facilities were built from a combination of state and federal funds. The federal funds were committed through NOAA.

“5 Rivers is truly a gateway to adventure with outdoor recreation, educational and stewardship activities all set within the beautiful backdrop of the Delta and coastal Alabama,” said Timothy Keeney, deputy assistant secretary at NOAA. “Through the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management has been able to fund more than 600 projects including habitat protection and restoration, land acquisition, and water quality improvement projects.”

“The work that the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has done, and continues to do, is extraordinary. NOAA is proud to be a part of this venture.”

To learn more about Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, visit

The Five Rivers Center was officially open after the ribbon cutting ceremony

The Five Rivers Center was officially open after the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Timothy Keeney, deputy assistant secretary at NOAA, admires the new dedication plaque

Timothy Keeney, deputy assistant secretary at NOAA, admires the new dedication plaque.

Visitors explore the new Five Rivers Center

Visitors explore the new Five Rivers Center.

April 17th, 2007

NOAA Honors Jefferson with Ceremony

April 13, 2007 - Washington, DC

On April 13, 2007, at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the anniversary of the birthday of the third President of the United States was celebrated with a wreath-laying ceremony. This inspiring event was part of NOAA’s celebration of 200 years of science, service, and stewardship for the nation. Thomas Jefferson is considered to be the founder of NOAA. In 1807, Jefferson created our nation’s first scientific agency–the Survey of the Coast, an early forerunner of NOAA.

Jefferson Memorial
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.

The Jefferson memorial ceremony was presented by the District of Columbia Society of Sons of the American Revolution in honor of the 264th anniversary of the birthday of Thomas Jefferson. The Society, joined by Revolutionary War descendants from other states, laid wreaths of flowers on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial.

Wreaths at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Wreaths presented during the ceremony.

Department of Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez delivered keynote remarks to commemorate both the birthday of President Jefferson and the 200th anniversary of NOAA. Calling him a “visionary patriot,” the Secretary highlighted Jefferson’s understanding that science was essential for the progress of a fledgling nation. Jefferson once said, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” The result of his vision two centuries ago is NOAA, a world-class scientific organization dedicated to service to this country.

Carlos Guitierrez
Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez addresses guests at the wreath-laying ceremony.

April 11th, 2007

23rd National Space Symposium

April 9, 2007 - Colorado Springs, Colorado

Hello from Colorado Springs, Colorado!

The Broadmoor Hotel was host to over 7,000 National Space Symposium attendees from around the world. The conference is attended by industry leaders, members of the military, government officials, and general space enthusiasts.

This first day of programming for the 23rd National Space Symposium began with a featured speech by U.S. Congressman Ken Calvert and closed with a speech by Under Secretary of the Air Force, Ronald M. Sega, Ph.D. The day also contained featured remarks by Mr. Robert J. Stevens, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin, a Congressional Staff Roundtable, and much more. The programming continues through Thursday.

NOAA joined in the Symposium with the Space Foundation for a special art contest honoring the 200-year heritage of NOAA’s roots. The art contest was open to schools in the Colorado Springs area. The winners from each grade category were invited to the Symposium, along with their family members and teachers. The winning artwork from each category was turned into postcards, which were distributed from the NOAA booth. Each winner received an art kit and a plaque. The winners also got to sign a poster-sized copy of their artwork at the ceremony.

Elliot G. Pulham, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Space Foundation, opened the awards ceremony. NOAA Administrator Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher and NOAA Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services Mary Kicza also spoke and commended the winners on their impressive artwork.

For more information on the 23rd National Space Symposium program and featured speeches visit:

Winners Pose With VADM Lautenbacher and Mary Kicza in Front of Their Art Work

The First Grade Winner Signs His Artwork, Which Will Hang In His School

The first grade winner signs his artwork, which will hang in his school.

A Local School Group Gathers at the NOAA Booth to Hear Karrie Carnes Speak About the NOAA 200th Celebration

A local school group gathers at the NOAA booth to hear Karrie Carnes speak about the NOAA 200th celebration.

March 28th, 2007

NOAA in the Pacific Islands: Sunset on the Beach and the Great Hawaiian Folklife Festival (Day 2)

March 25, 2007 - Honolulu, Hawaii

Two happy kids showing off their turtle and whale hats and new NOAA 200th Anniversary frisbees.
Two happy kids showing off their turtle and whale hats and new NOAA 200th Anniversary frisbees.

The Celebration continued on Sunday at the Great Hawaiian Folklife Festival where visitors once again shuffled by in large numbers (reaching almost 700 visitors for the second day!) to learn about NOAA, its programs, and important topics such as marine debris and NOAA’s mission in the Pacific Islands.

Across the street at the Sunset on the Beach event, the NOAA booth was buzzing with a curious crowd and enthusiastic volunteers. As the afternoon turned to night, the crowd began to multiply and soon the whole beach was covered with a sea of people listening to Eileen Shea, Director of the NOAA IDEA Center, and Rear Admiral Sam De Bow talk about how NOAA touches their lives everyday. Prior to the featured movie, “Shark Tale,” co-sponsored by NOAA and the Waikiki Improvement Association, the crowd watched the NOAA 200th video and a marine debris video created by students at a local elementary school.

 NOAA staff and volunteers at the Sunset on the Beach event and NOAA 200th Anniversary celebration in Waikiki.
NOAA staff and volunteers at the Sunset on the Beach event and NOAA 200th Anniversary celebration in Waikiki.

Eileen Shea, Director of the NOAA IDEA Center, was the Master of Ceremony honoring NOAA's 200th Anniversary at Sunset on the Beach on Sunday.
Eileen Shea, Director of the NOAA IDEA Center, was the Master of Ceremony honoring NOAA’s 200th Anniversary at Sunset on the Beach on Sunday.

March 26th, 2007

NOAA in the Pacific Islands: Sunset on the Beach and the Great Hawaiian Folklife Festival (Day 1)

March 24, 2007 - Honolulu, Hawaii

Sunset in Hawaii
Beachgoers enjoy the sunset at the Great Hawaiian Folklife Festival.

Aloha! Today NOAA celebrated Hawaiian culture and its important role in preserving natural resources by participating in the Great Hawaiian Folklife Festival in Honolulu, Hawaii. The NOAA booths at the festival featured information on NOAA’s involvement in the Pacific Islands, games, and other activities that attracted over 700 people. NOAA employees and volunteers eagerly greeted the public and shared NOAA’s story.

Later, across the street on the shores of Waikiki, the Sunset on the Beach event was just getting started. NOAA, in partnership with the Waikiki Improvement Association, co-sponsored this outdoor family event featuring the movie, The Little Mermaid. Keiki lined up in numbers at the NOAA booth to participate in games and activities led by local girl scout troops who braved the warm weather and adorned sea creature costumes. The wheel of fortune game, memory game, and hat making were particular favorites of the passers-by.

Chris Chung distributes educational materials to some young visitors from Alaska.

As the crowd thickened, focus turned to center stage where local Hawaiian artists, Kaukahi and Makana, performed their unique sounds. After the sun set, Mayor Mufi Hanneman, the Mayor of Honolulu, introduced Rear Admiral Sam De Bow who spoke to a crowd of over 4,000 people, explaining the importance of NOAA’s mission and service to the Pacific Islands. Admiral De Bow, along with Naomi McIntosh of the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, then presented awards to NOAA partners and volunteers.

A local Girl Scout from Honolulu fits a youngster for a NOAA 200th seal hat.

By the end of the evening, it was clear that such an event took a tremendous amount of thought, planning, and effort. Many thanks go out to the Pacific Regional Outreach Group for pulling together and making this event a great success.

Rear Admiral Sam De Bow presents Mayor Mufi Hanneman with a NOAA Weather Radio.

February 6th, 2007

Treasures of NOAA’s Ark: Journey Through Time

February 2, 2007 — Silver Spring, Maryland

NOAA Heritage Week 2007 got off with a bang with Treasures of NOAA’s Ark: Journey Through Time. The NOAA’s Ark exhibit, which officially opened Monday, February 5, 2007, showcases historical resources that recall the agency’s proud history and legacy of service.

On Friday, February 2, 2007, Fox 5 News in the Morning got a sneak peek of the exhibit. Holly Morris, who highlights local activities on Fox 5 Morning News, visited the exhibit in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Holly and other guests who visit the exhibit will travel through 200 years of NOAA science, service, and stewardship. This special NOAA Heritage Week/NOAA 200th Celebration event and exhibit will transport employees, families, schools, and other guests back to the early days of the Coast Survey, the U.S. Weather Bureau, and the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, and propel them forward to the NOAA of today.

You’ll be wowed by newly discovered and restored artifacts from NOAA’s past, inspired by the breakthroughs of NOAA’s professional ancestors, and immersed in the many environments in which NOAA operates from sea to space.

The exhibit is free and open to the public, running from February 5 - 14, 2007, in the NOAA Science Center, 1301 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland. Additional information is available on the Treasures of NOAA’s Ark Web site.


Holly Morrison discusses NOAA Weather Radio with a representative from NOAA’s National Weather Service.


NOAA employees snap a picture with Fox 5’s Holly Morris.

January 18th, 2007

WeatherFest 2007

January 14, 2007 — San Antonio, Texas

Over 1,000 kids in the San Antonio area came to have fun and learn about weather at WeatherFest 2007 on Sunday, held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society. NOAA had several booths at the event, including the biggest hit of the day: Weather Jeopardy. Prizes for answering Jeopardy trivia questions correctly included lights, pens, bags, and even NOAA Weather Radios. The big game of the day was when the Boy Scouts played the Girl Scouts–the girls won in a bonus overtime match.

After NOAA Administrator Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher helped to quiz the children on their knowledge of rip currents in Jeopardy, kids headed over to the San Antonio SeaWorld booth to meet some interesting creatures, including penguins, snakes, and a giant lizard.

WeatherFest is an interactive four-hour science and weather fair free to the public. The event features more than 65 exhibitors that promote the fascinating field of meteorology, oceanography, and related sciences. WeatherFest features weather demonstrations, hands-on weather and climate-related activities and games; opportunities to meet local television meteorologists, hurricane hunters, tornado chasers, and other science experts; a education and career section; and much more. For more information, go to AMS WeatherFest page.


A broadcaster from San Antonio’s FoxNews channel shows a Girl Scout how to use a green screen for weather forcasting.


Director of the National Weather Service, David L. Johnson, quizzes the audiences on their weather knowledge.


Vice Admiral Lautenbacher came face-to-face with a Giant Tegu, a lizard native to Argentina, at the SeaWorld San Antonio booth.

January 18th, 2007

American Meterological Society Meeting 2007

January 14, 2007 - San Antonio, Texas

The American Meterological Society (AMS) conference began on time and with a bang despite the chilly and icy weather outside the San Antonio H.B.Gonzalez Convention Center. On Monday evening, NOAA Administrator Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Director of the National Weather Service David L. Johnson, Assistant Administrator of NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research Rick Spinrad, and Deputy Secretary of Commerce Dr. David Sampson helped AMS President Franco Einaudi cut the ribbon to officially open the expo hall to the attendees.

As hundreds of students and professionals poured into the exhibit hall, NOAA’s booth was hard to miss. The colorful display celebrated the history and stewardship of NOAA with posters on the 200th Celebration, literature on current projects, artifacts from early coast surveying, and even a simulator that blew winds up to a Category 1 hurricane. Those who were brave enough to get in the hurricane simulator had their picture taken and printed out to take home.

The American Meteorological Society promotes the development and dissemination of information and education on the atmospheric and related oceanic and hydrologic sciences and the advancement of their professional applications. The AMS Annual Meeting is the host to the largest exhibit program anywhere in the atmospheric, oceanic, and related sciences. Exhibitors come from the United States and abroad with over 100 organizations showcasing a wide range of products, publications, and services.


Hundreds of AMS attendees flow into the opening of the exhibit hall.


An AMS attendee happily accepts her prize of a weather radio after winning the raffle at the NOAA booth.


A NOAA employee tries out the hurriance simulator before the expo opens. The simulator blew winds up to a Category 1 hurricane at guests brave enough to enter the booth.