Show Your Sweet Side this Valentine's Day
By Janice Nearing



Grab a bouquet or something chocolate - this is what most people want on Valentine's Day, right?  

Not according to Loren Gomez from Darien, Connecticut, who says that she, like many others, including her husband, Mark, feel most gifts can be frivolous. So, last year for Valentine's Day, Loren decided to adopt a manatee for Mark. "I wanted to do some good work with the money instead," she said. "Supporting one of our favorite animal causes seemed like the caring thing to do."  

The $25 tax-deductible gift adoptions from Save the Manatee Club include a color photo of a real, live Florida manatee, an adoption certificate, the manatee's biography, a membership handbook filled with photos, facts, and information, a subscription to the Club's official quarterly newsletter, The Manatee Zone, and the bi-monthly e-newsletter, Paddle Tales. Shipping is free.  

Or... for $35, each new member who joins the Adopt-A-Manatee® program online will also receive a popular, plush manatee. A personalized Valentine's Day manatee card is offered with each adoption.

Manatees and matters of the heart seem like a perfect fit for the Connecticut couple. "Mark grew up near an estuary in England and has always been interested in animals and sea life," explained Loren. "Marine biology has intrigued me since childhood, and our mutual love of animals has inspired us to plan activities that have lead to some of our best times together."   

Manatee gift adoptions help support Save the Manatee Club's efforts to increase public awareness and education in order to protect these gentle, endangered marine mammals. Funds also go toward manatee research, rescue and rehabilitation efforts, and advocacy and legal action. There are only about 3,200 manatees left in Florida waters. Manatees face ever-increasing threats mostly from human activities. Watercraft-related mortality and loss of winter warm-water habitat are the two greatest threats to the future status of manatees.

"Mark really enjoyed his Valentine's Day manatee adoption," said Loren. "It reminded him of our wonderful visit to Sarasota, Florida where he was able to see manatees up close." 

Margaritaville's own Jimmy Buffett co-founded Save the Manatee Club, a national nonprofit advocacy organization, in 1981, along with former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator, Bob Graham.  

For more information about manatees, contact Save the Manatee Club at 500 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland, FL 32751, call (800) 432-JOIN (5646), or visit www.  Also, sign up for the Club's free E-Newsletter and check out their online gift catalog.


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