Volusia County is seeking Manatee Watch volunteers.
Written by Kristen Schmutz
Belden Communications News
Volusia County is seeking enthusiastic volunteers to participate in a new program called Manatee Watch, aimed at identifying the presence of manatees in local waterways. The program is open to residents who live on the water, spend a lot of time near the water, or are avid boaters.
Manatee Watch coordinators will host two training sessions, including one on March 1, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Volusia County Historic Courthouse, 125 W. New York Avenue in DeLand, and another on March 5, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Daytona Beach Lifeguard Headquarters, 515 S. Atlantic Avenue in Daytona Beach.
“The Manatee Watch training is a great opportunity to learn all about Florida’s official marine mammal,” said Debbie Wright, Volusia County’s manatee protection program manager. “With the help of volunteers, we can get a better understanding of how manatees are using Volusia County waterways.”
Trained Manatee Watchers observe manatee behavior and document sightings while photographing and sketching scars. This information provides vital data on manatee behavior, movement within waterways, habitat use, and individual identification. Participants will receive a packet of training materials.
The program is open to individuals, families, businesses, and civic organizations, with participants required to be at least 16 years old. The training is free, but advance registration is required. Interested volunteers can contact Chad Murch at ManateeWatch@volusia.org or call 386-736-5927, ext. 12839.
For more information about manatees and Manatee Watch, visit www.volusiamanatees.org.
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