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July 13, 2022

John Armor, Director, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

John Armor, Director, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
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In this episode of the Outdoor Adventure Series, we continue celebrating The National Marine Sanctuaries' 50 Years of ocean conservation and stewardship.

Our guest today is John Armor, Director of NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), our nation’s system of underwater parks. John provides a strategic vision for the program and overall policy direction.

Aha Moment

[Abridged]  Maybe seven, eight years ago, I was in American Samoa on the island of Aunu'u, and we were in a community meeting in the Fale.

And we're sitting on the ground, and the entire meeting is taking place in Samoan. And my folks are trying to translate as best they can. But even if I didn't understand every word of what was being discussed, the relevance that the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa had to a community like Aunu'u, and a community that is so in touch with its ancestral path and how the connection that the sanctuary has in supporting that community in supporting its wellbeing going forward, on into the future, that's where it really just kind of like, just sunk in for me, just said, yeah, it's about the whales, and it's about the fish, and it's about the shipwrecks, but it's also about these communities, of all different shapes and sizes and languages, and, and just sitting there and listening to that, and participating in that meeting, was really, really impactful on me.

It's something I'll never forget. And it's something that really just helped me internalize what it means to be a community-based program and the impact that that has on the people we serve.  


[Abridged] I think there are people like me that have a duty to be mentors to people that are coming in the next generation. So I would first just say, all of the career folks that are in ocean conservation now, be they government or nonprofit, I think they have an obligation and a duty to go out and find these people and, and be accessible to these people. So I'll start there, But to answer your question, I would say persistence really pays off, really just showing up. And so I would encourage folks to take advantage of as many opportunities as they can to get their name out there, to get their face known, to show up at meetings, to take that internship. For us in the Sanctuaries, one of the best ways to get out there is to be on our advisory council. And so go to an advisory council meeting. Get on the advisory council; there are lots of opportunities at the state and local levels and in nonprofits, so just keep at it.

In The Media

Director’s 50th Anniversary Message 

The Making of a Maritime Nation: The Ocean of a Past, Present, and Future America

Next Steps

Click here to learn more about the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuarieson their website. 

You can also learn more about The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries on these social sites:




Click here to learn more about theNational Marine Sanctuary Foundation

The Outdoor Adventure Series is a Podcast Production of Fox Coaching, Inc.