Making Spirits Bright …
Adopt-A-Manatee® this Holiday Season
By Janice Nearing



Many shoppers may be thinking about trimming spending on holiday gift-giving this year while searching for affordable presents that are still wonderful. For Tara and John Lulich from East Lansing, Michigan, giving manatee adoptions from Save the Manatee Club is part of their joy of the season — and price is not a concern.  

An annual manatee adoption costs $25 and includes an adoption certificate, photo of a real endangered Florida manatee, biography, membership handbook, and four newsletters throughout the year with updated reports on the manatees in the adoption program. Shipping is free within the United States. A personalized holiday message is offered with each gift adoption.  

Each new member who joins the Adopt-A-Manatee® program online for a $35 tax-deductible donation will also receive a 24” x 12” full-color 2010 wall calendar.

“I’ve known about manatees since I was a teenager visiting Florida, and they’ve always held a special place in my heart,” said Tara. “For the past three Christmases, we have adopted manatees for our children, Nick, 8, and Andrea, 11. We also adopted one for my mom which has created a wonderful connection between my kids and their grandmother.”

Tara explains that it has become a tradition for her children to include manatees on their Christmas wish lists. “They love receiving manatee information packets at Christmas and immediately put their manatee’s picture up in their rooms. Our son likes to take his adoption packet to school for show-and-tell. What’s really great is that you get to follow your manatee for a whole year. We can’t wait for each newsletter to see if our manatees have been spotted!”

There are 32 manatees in the Club’s three Florida adoption programs. Nick’s choices were from the Blue Spring State Park program. “I chose Nick because he shared my name, and I chose Flash another year because I think he’s fast!” said Nick. His sister, Andrea, made both her adoption selections from the Club’s adoption program at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. “I chose Rosie and Lorelei because I thought their names were pretty.”  

In the spring of 2008, the Lulich family visited Homosassa, and Andrea was thrilled to see her adopted manatee, Rosie. “It was an amazing experience to actually see the manatee whom we would read so much about,” said Tara. “We can’t imagine how anyone who spends a second in their presence can’t help but fall in love with them!”

Manatees, who have inhabited Florida for over a million years, are listed as endangered at the international, federal, and state levels. The largest known cause of manatee injuries and deaths is from human activity — predominantly from boat strikes.

Patrick Rose, Save the Manatee Club’s Executive Director says, “Save the Manatee Club’s primary goals are to reduce the number of manatee injuries and deaths that are human-caused and to protect aquatic habitat, with the long-term goal of achieving full recovery of the species.”  The Florida manatee population is estimated to be around 3,800.

Singer/songwriter, Jimmy Buffett, co-founded Save the Manatee Club in 1981 — a national nonprofit conservation organization, whose mission is to protect manatees and their habitat.

For more information about manatees, or the adoption program, 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 quick and easy online gift catalog at featuring a variety of manatee items from books to pajamas!

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