ESSEX — Willsboro Central School fourth-graders raised $1,046 for the Save the Manatee Club Red Tide Emergency Fund.
Students Scarlett Archer and Joelle Steeves had brought the plight of the aquatic mammal to the attention of their classmates and teacher, Laura Bridge.
“I read about the manatees and emailed the Emergency Fund for information on the herbivores and the red tide,” Scarlett said.
According to the Save the Manatee Club website, 13 manatees were killed by the red tide in southwest Florida last year, and at least 264 perished so far this year.
The toxin released by red-tide bloom robs manatees of coordination and stability in the water, causes muscle twitches or seizures, and they have difficulty lifting their heads to breathe, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says.
The Willsboro students planned a Save the Manatees Breakfast, held at the Essex Inn.
The youngsters made and displayed posters for the event and had a live video web-stream of manatees in their habitat that the Manatee Club provided.
The scholars acquired information on the topic and were prepared to answer questions about the manatee and the current emergency.
The youngsters served some special guests, as former Gov. George Pataki and his wife, Elizabeth, stopped by to have breakfast with the group.
Scarlett’s parents, Gladys and Joshua Archer, manage the Essex Inn; he is also chef there.
“We hope the event helps raise awareness and much-needed monetary aid for these gentle sea creatures, as well as encourage our children as they learn that what they do does matter and that together they can help the manatee,” Mrs. Archer said.
HELPED ANIMAL SHELTER
This was not Scarlett and Joelle’s first endeavor raising money for animals in need.
During Downtown Essex Days, they sold lemonade to raise funds. Among the previous recipients of their generosity has been the North Country SPCA.