The Perfect Gift for Mom or Dad
Sometimes Big IS Best!
By Janice Nearing



Last year, as the month of May approached, Dawn Baksh from Orlando, Florida was contemplating what to get her mom for Mother’s Day. “I just wanted to give her something different, a little more thoughtful,” said Dawn. Like many others around the country, Dawn decided to adopt a manatee so she contacted Save the Manatee Club, a national, nonprofit organization, dedicated to protecting endangered manatees and their habitat.

Dawn chose Ginger from the Club’s Tampa Bay manatee adoption program. “She just seemed sweet with her babies and all,” explained Dawn when asked why she picked Ginger. “My mom loved the adoption. Plus she really wants grandkids, so I thought a manatee adoption would be perfect!”

It’s often a dilemma. What do you get dad for Father’s Day that he doesn’t already have? Kirsten Hetherly from Lake Mary, Florida, found a gift to please her dad that didn’t wind up in the back of a closet or at the bottom of a drawer. Last year, she adopted an endangered manatee by the name of Nick for her father. “Since my dad and his wife dedicate most of their spare time helping stray cats in Arizona, and he’s a big supporter of animal rights and protection, I thought he would appreciate a manatee adoption.” said Kirsten.

For Shiloh Robinson of Tulsa, Oklahoma, this will be the fifth year she and her two young sons, Grantham and Ethan, have adopted Doc for their “Popo” on Father’s Day. “Popo loves getting Doc on his special day,” said Shiloh, who explained that the manatee is her step-dad’s favorite animal.

There are 31 manatees to choose from in Save the Manatee Club’s three Florida adoption programs at Blue Spring State Park, Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, and in the Tampa Bay area. To view the photos and names of all the manatees available for adoption, visit: Funds from the adoption program go toward conservation and education programs, manatee research, rescue and rehabilitation efforts, and advocacy and legal action.

It costs $25 to adopt a manatee, and although the real live marine mammal is not part of the package received in the mail, it does include an adoption certificate, manatee photo and biography of a known individual, a membership handbook, and free shipping. Members receive a subscription to the Club’s official quarterly newsletter, The Manatee Zone, which includes manatee adoptee updates, and also the bi-monthly e-newsletter, Paddle Tales. Or, for $35, while supplies last, each new member who joins the Adopt-A-Manatee program online will receive the Club’s popular T-shirt featuring a new manatee design that beats out a tie any day!

In order to raise public awareness about the manatee and help ensure the survival of a species in trouble, singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett and former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator, Bob Graham, got together back in 1981 and started Save the Manatee Club, a membership-based, national nonprofit organization. Last year was the worst on record for manatees, with 416 reported manatee deaths. At least 86 were killed by boat strikes, making it the second highest mortality from watercraft collisions ever recorded. There are about 3,000 manatees left in Florida’s waterways, and they are listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

For more information, contact Save the Manatee Club at 500 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland FL 32751, call (800) 432-JOIN (5646), or visit
 manatee gifts are featured for the entire family.

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