Press-Republican

April 24, 2013

Willsboro kids raise $1,000-plus for manatees

ALVIN REINER
Press-Republican

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. 

GENTLE CREATURES

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.

“It makes us feel good helping the animals. They are kind of like humans,” Joelle said.

“The animals have feelings,” Scarlett said. “Some species of the manatees are already extinct. How would you feel if you were endangered?” 

“We don’t want this (extinction) to happen to others,” added Joelle.

BENGAL TIGER

The students’ teacher expressed appreciation to the Archers for hosting the breakfast.

“It’s been a great response for this student-initiated fundraiser,” Bridge said.

“The kids did a fabulous job, and the community support was wonderful,” Mrs. Archer said. “We are very proud of them and grateful for the wonderful job their teacher, Laura Bridge, did with them, too.” 

Scarlett is planning to help another endangered animal.

“Now she wants to do another benefit for the Bengal tiger …,” her mother said, laughing. 

“Oh, boy. We asked her to give us another year.”

Email Alvin Reiner: rondackrambler@yahoo.com

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TO LEARN MORE

Find all about the plight of the manatee: savethemanatee.org.