Welcome Back, Volunteers!

By Meghan Cohorst
Communications and Outreach Manager
Save the Manatee Club
Date: March 30, 2022

After nearly two years at home, in-person events are back and we could not be happier! Not only does a return to in-person gatherings mean that we are able to share our knowledge and love for manatees with the public, it also means that our amazing Save the Manatee Club (SMC) volunteer team is back in action.

Volunteer at SpringsFest in Ocala, Florida.
Volunteer Tatiana R. at Florida SpringsFest in Ocala, Florida. March 6, 2022.

Thus far in 2022 we have attended four major festivals across the State of Florida: the Florida Manatee Festival in Crystal River, the Orange City Blue Spring Manatee Festival at Blue Spring State Park, Florida SpringsFest at Silver Springs State Park, and ManateeFest at Manatee Lagoon in West Palm Beach. Festivals like these are some of SMC’s busiest volunteer events, allowing us to spread awareness, educate the public about manatees, and share enthusiasm for our popular Adopt-A-Manatee program. Dozens of people have become new (or returning!) adoptive parents at these events and shared excitement over learning that they are fellow “co-parents” at our table.

It has been wonderful to welcome many of you back to in-person volunteering and also to see so many new faces! Thank you to all of the volunteers who gave their time and to everyone who stopped by a booth to say hello and to learn more about our favorite marine mammals. While manatee season has wound down in Florida, we still have a few events on the calendar in the coming months. Visit savethemanatee.org/events to see what’s coming up.

Save the Manatee Club booth at ManateeFest 2022.
Volunteer Nicolás T. (in hat) works with a fellow kid on our manatee fact puzzle—designed by long-time volunteers Deb B. and Doug B.—at ManateeFest in West Palm Beach, Florida. Coincidentally, Nicolás was the winner of our 2021 Recycled Manatee Art Contest!

And while we may be back in person, one pandemic-era development is here to stay… our virtual presentations! Since December, SMC volunteers have done more than a dozen presentations to groups ranging in age from eight to 80, and we are looking forward to a busy season partnering with summer reading programs across the country.

We have several plans in the works for expanded volunteer opportunities, including the chance for everyone to get their hands dirty with hands-on projects, so keep an eye out for announcements about those in the near future. In the meantime, for more information or to sign up to get involved, visit the SMC Volunteer page at savethemanatee.org/volunteer.

Volunteers at the Crystal River Manatee Festival.
Volunteers Jane F., Trinket M., and Kiki S. at the Florida Manatee Festival in Crystal River, Florida. January 15, 2022.