A big part of environmentalism is the education piece. Since 1992, Monterey Bay has been designated as a National Marine Sanctuary. But with that you have a basic problem: it's covered in water. You need a surfboard, a boat, scuba gear or just a tolerance for cold water to be part of it.
That's where the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center -- under construction near the Wharf in Santa Cruz comes in. When it opens in 2012, it will give the hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors to Santa Cruz an opportunity to learn about what's going on under the water.
For a good wrapup on the new Exploration Center, check out Dan Haifley's always excellent "Our Ocean Backyard" column in Saturday's Sentinel.
On Tuesday, a big piece of the center's exhibitry will get lowered into place -- the Monterey Bay Canyon exhibit. It's a two-story replica of the dominating natural feature of underwater Monterey Bay. Originally, the work was to have been done last week, but will happen this Tuesday instead. (An artists' rendition of the exhibit is pictured here.)
By the way, fund-raising continues. The building itself is paid for by federal money, but the exhibits are being funded by grants and donations. For information, see this link to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.