Go “Green!”
Manatees Make Splashy Holiday Gifts
By Janice Nearing



It’s easy for holiday shoppers to “green up” their gifts. Now eco-friendly shopping is more popular than ever, and a unique gift that also says you care in a huge way about the world around you, is a manatee adoption from Save the Manatee Club. A $25 gift adoption includes a photo and life history of a real Florida manatee, a Certificate of Adoption, plus a fact-filled membership handbook, and free shipping.

Four printed newsletters and six e-newsletters are sent throughout the year. Or for $35, new members who adopt will also receive a 24” x 12” full-color 2008 wall calendar featuring gorgeous manatee photos (while supplies last). A personalized holiday message is offered with each adoption to add a nice, warm-hearted touch.

Andrea Lamberth, from Southern California, adopted manatees for her daughter Shayla and her son Devin last year as one of their Hanukkah gifts. “It was the best gift I’ve ever given them,” says Andrea. “They didn’t know what to make of the adoption envelopes at first, but when they opened them up, and I explained that I had adopted “Whiskers” for Shayla and “Flash” for Devin, they were both thrilled. Gifts often come and go and get pushed into some corner after an hour of play, but that didn’t happen with the manatee gift adoptions.”

There are currently 32 manatees to choose from in the Club’s three Florida adoption programs at Blue Spring State Park near Orange City, Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Homosassa, and in the Tampa Bay area.

The newest addition to the Blue Spring Adopt-A-Manatee program is Georgia, although she has been a regular and popular visitor at this state park for many years now. Rescued as a calf in 1991 by SeaWorld, Orlando, Georgia was then released back into the wild six years later at Blue Spring. She has given birth to a number of calves over the years, including Peaches and Macon. She was also a foster mom to a yearling named John, and has since become a grandmother.

“Wild manatees need to stay wild in order to survive in Florida’s dangerous, busy waterways,” explains Patrick Rose, Executive Director of Save the Manatee Club. “Many manatees are injured or killed by watercraft every year, and since this is the leading known cause of their mortality, it’s important that manatees remain shy or wary of people and boats.”

Around 3,000 manatees exist in Florida waters today and they are listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Funds from Save the Manatee Club’s adoption programs go toward education and conservation, manatee research, rescue and rehabilitation efforts, and advocacy and legal action. Singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett and former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator, Bob Graham, founded the Club, a membership-based, national nonprofit organization in 1981.

More gift ideas can be found at the Manatee Gift Items section of the website. While there, check out the new, inexpensive and reusable “green” bags — an Earth-friendly alternative to using plastic and paper bags for shopping or holiday gift giving.

To adopt a manatee for loved ones this holiday season, contact Save the Manatee Club at 500 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland, FL 32751, call (800) 432-JOIN, or visit www.savethemanatee.org

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