Breaking News: You can name a new species of deep-sea sponge!

Scientists have recently discovered a new species of Picasso sponge, a type of deep sea sponge, in northern Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary waters, and you can be the one to name it! In an effort to support this scientific investigation, we are holding an online auction to name this new species from April 13 – May 17. In addition to bragging rights to name this new animal, the winning bidder will receive a print photograph of the new sponge, plus a bound copy of the scientific publication in which the species will be described for the very first time. Learn more!

Just offshore of Northern California lies an underwater national park called the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is cared for and protected by NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Greater Farallones Association supports the efforts of NOAA and the Sanctuary with citizen science programs, restoring critical habitat, addressing climate change, education for kids, and funding for noted researchers.

The Sanctuary

The upwelling of a unique and powerful current within the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is responsible for creating one of the most spectacular & bio-diverse marine ecosystems on the planet. It is home to one of the largest feeding grounds for white sharks, 29 species of whales and dolphins, over 390 species of fish, and over 330 species of invertebrates – deep sea corals, sponges, shrimp, crab and other mollusks and crustaceans and much more.


Our Programs

Citizen Science:

Beach Watch: Our citizen scientist programs for adults. Learn more!

LiMPETS: We teach and train middle school kids and teens to study something of supreme importance in their world and to instill a love of something that they’ll grow up wanting to protect. Learn more!

Marine Debris: Greater Farallones Association trains citizen scientists to collect data to inform efforts focused on identifying, removing, reducing and preventing trash in the marine environment. Learn more!

Climate Change: 

Ocean Climate Change Program: Data collected by our citizen scientists is combined with the Sanctuary’s data to address climate change impacts along our coasts and in the Sanctuary. Learn more!

Resource Protection:

Bolinas Lagoon Restoration: This project will ensure the long-term ecosystem health of this internationally recognized estuary through implementation of projects that address historical human-induced impacts, reestablish natural processes, and adapt to future climate change issues. Learn more!

Maritime CSI: We use science and technology to track and mitigate oil spills and other pollution from active vessels as well as shipwrecks lying on the Sanctuary’s floor.

Seabird Protection Network: We work to reduce human disturbances to seabirds and other marine life. Learn more!

Shark Stewardship: We help train naturalists, whale watching companies and research organizations to study and raise the awareness around the vital role that great white sharks play in the Sanctuary’s ecosystem. Learn more!


Youth Education: We offer a wide array of exciting and engaging learning experiences, including tidepooling, kayaking, lectures, field excursions, workshops, classes, exhibits and more. Learn more!

Visitor Center: Offers hands-on activities that create an intimate experience with our marine world, which promotes understanding, while underscoring the importance of our protected marine sanctuaries. Our Visitor Center is open Wednesday – Sunday from 10 AM – 4 PM.  Learn more about our Visitor Center programs!


The GFA funds programs that train citizen scientist volunteers that work with Sanctuary biologists to maintain the health of the Sanctuary, restore significant habitat, and combat the impacts of ocean climate change. Our programs provide 10,000 volunteer hours in the field each year, and our citizen scientists provide critical data and research that help ensure our ocean waters are pristine and the ocean wildlife are thriving.


Support Us

Other Ways To Give

Take the tax-wise approach and donate stock or mutual funds. Download Stock Donation Instructions Here

Event Venue Rentals

If you’re looking for a unique venue with breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the city skyline, consider hosting your next event at our campus at the historic Fort Point Coast Guard Station along beautiful Crissy Field in San Francisco.

For more information email us at events@farallones.org!

Get Involved

 Volunteer Opportunities: Call or email to learn more!

Beach Watch
Beach Watch
Marine Debris
Marine Debris
Sanctuary Advisory Council
Sanctuary Advisory Council
Kent Island Restoration Project
Kent Island Restoration Project
Visitor Center
Visitor Center
Board Member
Board Member


Family Program:

For a full list of family programs offered click here.

Octopus Soirée:

Join us for our Octopus Soirée on April 8, 2017 at the San Francisco Zoo. Marvel at one of the most unique and bizarre animals on Earth! Octopuses are aces at camouflage, squeezing into tiny places, and
capturing all types of prey. In her 8 pm talk Jenny Hofmeister, Ph.D of Scripps Institution of Oceanography will share her latest research and describe the role this master manipulator plays in our California
Current ecosystem. Full details!

Sanctuary Exploration:

Coastal Wildlife Walk, March 25, 2017. Explore the breathtaking beauty of the wild north coast at Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands with Farallones sanctuary naturalists and wildlife experts! In spring, seabirds are starting to nest on these cliffs and jagged rocks, and flocks of shorebirds are stopping en route north. Take in panoramas that may include gray whales with newborn calves, traveling slowly as they round the historic Point Arena Lighthouse. Pack a picnic lunch, and learn how and why these lands and waters are federally protected, and about our Beach Watch citizen science program that is monitoring these shores. Full details!

Gray Whale Watching, April 22, 2017. Witness the mighty gray whale migration on this naturalist led half-day cruise. We “join” their annual northbound migration through our marine sanctuaries as they travel from Baja California breeding grounds to their Arctic feeding grounds with their calves. Learn about their natural history, their recovery from near extinction, and the survival challenges posed by their roughly 12,000 mile round-trip journey. Discover the natural history and adaptations of the seabirds, porpoises, seals and sea lions we encounter. Full details!

Whale Watch Fundraiser – Supporting Conservation Science Programs

Join us for a whale watch fundraiser May 6, 2017 hosted by Monterey Bay Whale Watch to support GFA and GFNMS conservation science programs. Spring whale watch trips usually see gray whales (moms and calves!), humpback whales, ORCA, other marine mammals, plus albatross, and other seabirds! Monterey Bay and nearshore waters are thriving with wildlife. Beach Watch staff will be your naturalists for the day. Full details! To purchase a ticket click here

Visitor Center:

Come enjoy a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge at the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center open Wednesday – Sunday 10 am – 4 pm! The center offers hands-on activities that create an intimate experience with our marine world, as well as access to a sandy beach and green space that’s perfect for a sunny day trip.


About Us