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Manatee Center Generator Campaign

$1,166 of $12,500 goal

Raised by 19 people in 6 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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The Short and Sweet
The Manatee Center is a museum and environmental education center in Fort Pierce, FL. We display live species of native and nonative fish and reptiles in large tanks for the education of our visitors. 

Without a generator, our tanks are vulnerable to high temperatures, low oxygen levels, and poor water quality during power outages. These conditions cause stress and can even kill the aquatic animals living within them. We love our critters and want to protect them from this fate.

We are now raising funds for a full-sized generator. The generator will cost $25,000. A generous sponsor will match all donations up to $12,500, meaning we only need to raise 50% of the cost of the generator. 

About Us

The Manatee Observation and Education Center was established in 1996 as St. Lucie County's first not-for-profit environmental education center. Our mission is to promote understanding and responsible actions for the protection of the Treasure Coast's fragile ecosystems and their inhabitants.

Over the years, the Center has become a special hub drawing visitors from all over the world for a chance to glimpse manatees from our observation walkway along Moore's Creek and the Indian River Lagoon. Our Exhibit Hall offers all visitors a chance to see native and non-native critters up close, and even hold some in their own hands at our touch tank.

We have a social, eight-year old, Florida-native corn snake named Diego who loves people,


a regal lion fish to demonstrate the beauty and dangers of this invasive species in our Lagoon,


an eel whose name, Danger Noodle, was chosen by community members in a two-month naming competition through October 2017, 


and so much more.

We're a small team of only four staff members, with the amazing support of nearly 80 volunteers. Many of our volunteers have been with us for over ten years, and we are so proud to have their support. Together, we call ourselves The ManaTeam, working to raise awareness about our local environment through hands-on educational activities and community events.

Why Are We Fundraising?
Our critters are not protected from power outages during hurricanes or storm events. Without power, the tank filters and water pumps stop running. There are only battery-powered aerators providing oxygen to the tanks. And there's no air conditioning to regulate the temperature of the building, meaning the water temperature of our tanks becomes too high for the fish living in them. We are asking for your support to help us buy and install a full-sized generator to protect our beloved critters from power outages, especially during hurricane season.

What Prompted this Fundraiser?

In September 2017, Hurricane Irma swept through Florida causing devastating flooding and damage throughout the state. Given our waterfront location, the Manatee Center fared very well and could have suffered much more damage.  We are grateful it did not.

Unfortunately, we also suffered losses. We lost our Pacific tank - a 200-gallon saltwater tank dedicated to Pacific species including our very own Nemo and Dori fish. This tank was lost in an attempt to save it. We added fresh water to prevent salinity issues in the event of a power outage, causing metals from the top of the tank to leach into the water. We lost this tank before the storm even began.


During and after the storm, the Manatee Center lost power for over three days. Without power and air conditioning, the temperature of the building climbed to dangerously high temperatures, causing the temperature of our fish tanks to rise. We are fortunate that the majority of our critters survived these power outages and temperature hikes, but unfortunately lost one of our four seahorses, and harmed them all.


Seahorses are much more sensitive to oxygen levels (which require moving water via filters and aerators) and temperatures (which are normally regulated by electric chillers). We soon lost a second seahorse, likely to a combination of stress and heartache at losing his partner. In this video shortly after the power outage, all seahorses are alive but are very stressed and struggling to stay upright.  If you are familiar with the regular habits of seahorses, this video may be hard to watch.


All of our critters suffered during the power outages. It was heartbreaking to watch, and we hope to protect them from suffering this kind of hardship again. This is why we are asking for your help now.

The Math
As soon as the storm passed and the dust settled, we got quotes for a full-sized generator at our facility. The generator will cost $25,000.

A generous sponsor has offered to match all donations received up to $12,500, meaning we only need to fundraise for HALF the generator. Your donation will be worth DOUBLE to the Manatee Center. 

$5 will mean $10 toward our generator
$20 will mean $40 toward our generator
$50 will mean $100 toward our generator
$150 will mean $300 toward our generator
And so on

We are so grateful for this support and hope you will also support us as we fundraise to cover half the cost.

We are a public, not-for-profit organization. All funds received will be directed to the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Treasure Coast Manatee Foundation, whose sole function is to fundraise for environmental education through the Manatee Center.
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Great news! Thanks to support from you and our community, and to a wonderful front page article on New Years Eve, we met our full fundraising goal on January 12th - only six weeks after launch! Thank you ALL and be sure to stop by the Manatee Center this summer to see our new generator :-)
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We’re excited to announce that our ongoing Manatee Center generator campaign is featured in this year’s TCPalm 12 Days of Christmas project. Thank you everyone for your support as we carry on with this campaign and have a happy and safe New Years Eve celebration!
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We are very happy to announce that this generator campaign will be featured on TCPalm's 12 Days of Christmas project - a project aimed at highlighting the Christmas wishes of a different local nonprofit each day. Look for us in the TCPalm on January 1st. :)
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THANK YOU to Last Dragon Tattoo for supporting the Manatee Center. Their donation of $150 was collected for donation to the Manatee Center during last week's Friday Fest. Thank you to everyone who donated. :)

Did you know you can also get a manatee tattoo to support the Manatee Center? Contact Rob Rantus, owner and award-winning tattoo artist at 772-801-5914 for more information, or visit his Facebook page @LastDragonTattoo.
Rob Rantus & MOEC Mgr @ FridayFest
Manatee tattoos support MOEC :)
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Read a Previous Update

$1,166 of $12,500 goal

Raised by 19 people in 6 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Funds raised will benefit:
Treasure Coast Manatee Foundation Inc
  Certified Charity
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Fort Pierce, FL
EIN: 650941270
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$150
Anonymous
4 months ago
JH
$100
Judy Himes
4 months ago
RB
$250
Rowene Bessey
4 months ago
$25
Anonymous
4 months ago
$25
Anonymous
5 months ago
RR
$150
Rob Rantus
5 months ago
JS
$50
Jayne Stewart
5 months ago
VZ
$25
Victoria Zalenski
5 months ago
TZ
$50
Terry Zalenski
5 months ago
JC
$25
Judy Cardone
5 months ago
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