“With no known natural predators and lacking in aggression, for me, manatees symbolize the peace and tranquility I wish to see more of in the world.”
-Tonya Higgins, Save the Manatee Club
It’s incredible what can happen when people come together with the desire to make a difference. In 1980, Jimmy Buffet spoke with Florida Governor Bob Graham backstage at one of his concerts about the need to protect manatees and their habitat. From that one conversation, the grassroots organization Save the Manatee Club was born.
For many of us, our love and awareness of these majestic creatures is due to this organization’s significant advocacy and education programs. They have also contributed decades-long research efforts for manatee rescue, rehabilitation, and release back into the wild. Their work has helped ensure more manatees roam the waters now than 40 years ago. In fact, this year Blue Springs State Park, the winter home for many Indian River manatees, counted more than 700 manatees, a record number. That is something to celebrate!
Still, there is much more work to be done. Now is a critical time to help as manatees on the east coast of Florida are suffering from malnourishment due to a massive loss of their primary food source, seagrass. As a result, it’s anticipated more manatees than usual will need rescuing this winter.
The good news is we can help save the manatees!
If you’re a coffee lover and want to support Save the Manatee Club, then consider switching your coffee to Breyting. Then, each day you can wake up knowing you’ve already made a significant contribution just by changing the coffee you drink. It’s also really delicious!
What other ways can you help?
1. Rethink how you fertilize your yard.
The most impactful and affordable way is to change how you fertilize your lawn. The cumulated run-off of fertilizers is causing seagrass to die off, which is the manatee’s primary food source. This fertilizer run-off is also the cause of nearby red tide that devastates so many other animals and our coastal economies. Consider educating your neighbors, and, if possible, influencing the local industry to do the same. It’s such a simple thing to change if we work together to educate our community. It’s empowering to know we can easily make a positive impact on our environment, starting right in our own backyard. Please either avoid fertilizing or follow the guidelines of the IFAS Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program. To learn more about seagrass loss due to run-off, read this Save the Manatee Club article.
2. Adopt A Manatee.
3. Donate to Save the Manatee Club.
4. Purchase products online at The Manatee Store.