By Emily Roden
Manatees are often referred to as the beloved gentle giants of the sea, and they continue to capture the hearts of children and adults alike. These warm-blooded mammals are classified as a threatened species, facing dangers such as boat strikes, net entanglements and cold stress. Staying warm is why manatees gather near Florida’s natural springs, which have average year-round temperatures of 70 to 75 degrees. For several decades, they’ve also been gathering in the warm-water outflows of Florida’s power plants.
To further educate the public on how to protect and preserve these amazing animals, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) constructed Manatee Lagoon, an environmental education center located next to their Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center. The facility is designed to help the public better understand these gentle giants and their surrounding ecosystem. The plant’s warm-water outflow is a safe haven for manatees to survive the cooling waters during winter months, and the center’s observation deck allows visitors the opportunity to see them up close.
Efforts like this are an important part of what makes FPL so much more than just an energy company. Through its wide variety of collaborative partnerships with leading environmental organizations, FPL fosters a culture of environmental excellence, supporting the protection of wildlife and preservation of our ecosystems. With this in mind, FPL is pleased to announce it has entered into a special corporate partnership to support the new and exciting educational initiatives now being launched by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation for Florida teachers, students and families. This unique educational platform has been designed to help our communities learn about Florida’s wildlife and how we can all help preserve it for future generations. FPL’s investments in cutting-edge technology, clean energy and communities mirrors the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation’s philosophy to help make a difference and move Florida toward a more sustainable future.
For more information on FPL’s environmental commitment, please visit FPL.com/environment. To learn about Manatee Lagoon’s virtual learning resources, please visit VisitManateeLagoon.com/virtual-learning.