Earlier this month, students from the Millennia Gardens Elementary School EcoClub finally met the animals they’ve been assisting throughout the school year. The third, fourth and fifth grade students developed, grew and harvested a hydroponics garden at their school. After learning about the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation program at SeaWorld, the students made the unanimous decision to donate the lettuce from the garden to the manatees in the park’s care. In February, more than 1,000 heads of lettuce were carefully harvested by the students, and donated to the park. Since then, the students have continued to care for their garden and provide lettuce to SeaWorld.
As a thank you for their hard work and dedication to helping the world around them, the students received a special gift from SeaWorld – a sleepover at the park, followed by the chance to meet and feed the very manatees they have been helping. For many, it was the first time seeing a real manatee.
As one of the founding institutions of the Southeastern U.S. Marine Mammal Stranding Network (SEUS), SeaWorld rescues hundreds of annuals. In Florida alone SeaWorld annually rescues between 20-30 manatees. A manatee’s primary source of food is sea grass, and during rehab at SeaWorld, they eat lettuce. Manatees eat between two to four cases of lettuce daily.
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