Manatee Season Begins!

A few manatees have already been spotted in November at Blue Spring State Park. (Photo by Marcy Taylor)

The weather is cooling down in Florida, and that means the return of manatees to warm water sites around the state. As manatee season begins, we’re keeping our fingers crossed and hope we don’t get a repeat of the frigid weather from last winter that so devastated the manatee population.

Wayne Hartley wears a manatee hat
Wayne Hartley is always enthusiastic about the start of manatee season. Can you tell? (Photo by Terry Nearing)

Some cool days in November brought manatees to Blue Spring State Park, and Wayne Hartley has kept us up to date on the visitors as they trickled in. As many of you know, Wayne retired as a ranger at Blue Spring last year and is currently working as a researcher for Save the Manatee Club. He continues to keep tabs on the Blue Spring manatees and reports information to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Sirenia Project and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Wayne reports that the Blue Spring 2010 – 2011 manatee season officially kicked off on November 6th, and the first SMC adoptees to come in on November 8th were Flash, Georgia, Howie, and Phyllis. The next day, they were followed by Brutus, Margarito, and Paddy Doyle. On November 11th, Lily and Whiskers arrived, and Robin and Elaine were in on November 15th. We were particularly happy to hear the news about Elaine. Unlike many of the Blue Spring regulars, she often skips a season or puts in just a few appearances, so it was extra special to have her show up early this year.

Kids get a manatee hug at the Crystal River Festival.
Kids get a great big manatee hug at the Crystal River Manatee Festival. (Photo by Diane L.)

Over on the west coast of Florida, Kari Rood, Manatee Photo-identification Project Manager for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, reports that there have been no sightings yet of any of the adopted manatees at the Tampa Bay warm water sites. The only exception is Vector, who was sighted at Florida Progress’ Bartow Power Plant on November 11th.

And where there are manatees, there will, of course, be manatee festivals. For those of you living in or visiting Florida, be sure to stop by one or more of several upcoming festivals or manatee education days. It’s a great time to get outside and celebrate manatees. We hope to see you there!

2010 - 2011 Manatee Festivals

December 18, 2010
SMC Manatee Education Day
Blue Spring State Park
Orange City, FL
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
For more info, e-mail:

January 22, 2011
Manatee Celebration Day
Heritage Museum
on Spring Bayou
Tarpon Springs, FL
10:00 a.m - 4:00 p.m.
Get more info

Jan. 22 & 23, 2011
Florida Manatee Festival
Historic Downtown
Crystal River, FL
For more info, e-mail:

Jan. 22 & 23, 2011
Blue Spring Manatee Festival
Orange City, FL
For more info, visit: www.themanatee

January 23, 2011
SMC Children's
Manatee Presentation
& Arts & Crafts
Secret Woods Nature Center
Dania, FL
2:00 p.m.
Get more info >>

March 12 & 13, 2011
Apollo Beach Manatee
Festival of the Arts
Apollo Beach, FL
For more info,
call 813-645-1366
or visit

Get More Info!

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