Clearwater Marine Aquarium: Creating a promising future!
I would like to help promote the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and the benefits that they have on our local wildlife and beaches. As a long-time aquarium volunteer, I have witnessed and supported many positive events regarding the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of local marine life, and the education of the aquarium's guests and surrounding community. And as far as I can see, the aquarium is gathering momentum to expand this mission and do even more amazing things!
For example, by now many people have heard of "Winter", our tailless dolphin calf. She is but one ambassador for marine life. Her story begins when she was 2-months-old and encountered and became entangled in an abandoned crab trap. This clearly indicates a negative human impact. While in itself, this part of Winter's story is heartbreaking, there is hope…even for a tailless dolphin! The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a facility that provides a nurturing and stimulating environment for animals whose lives would not continue without the aquarium's help. Many animals who arrive at CMA present severe impact injuries (from boats and cars), medical conditions like tumors and the affects of red tide (from pollution), and the secondary complications associated with strandings (such as 3rd degree dolphin sunburns (ouch!) and the inability to swim or eat). The Clearwater Marine Aquarium not only addresses these issues through the rescue, rehabilitation, and release or housing of these lucky animals, but they also go a step further.
Through daily on- and off-site presentations, interactive programs, summer camps, and an informative website (to name a few), guests and community members are exposed to animal and environmental conservation. As more people become informed about important issues concerning habitats that we share with other species, many seem to come away with heightened compassion and a renewed motivation to make a difference. Some of them, like myself, make a life-long commitment to participating in this important mission of conservation. The aquarium's work is made possible in part by a large number of devoted volunteers who, through direct contact with aquarium residents and staff, have come to understand the importance of making a positive difference - every day! Seeing is believing, and seeing an animal arrive in a seemingly hopeless state and then recovering under the care of tireless individuals is an incredibly uplifting experience!
Thanks to its beautiful weather and beaches, Florida is a magnetic tourist attraction that invites countless people from around the world to visit the Tampa Bay area. This is a great opportunity to share our love and pride for our cherished beach communities. The more people care, the more they will help to keep our beaches clean and the animals safe. On a larger scale, people leave here with more than a sense of how enjoyable their vacation was. They also leave with a sense of wanting to return. That hopefully will inspire them to take care of our beaches as though they were their own. With the aquarium's location being just minutes from Clearwater Beach, local and traveling visitors' experiences become infinitely more memorable upon meeting a dolphin, otter, turtle, and stingray at the aquarium!
I hope that my commentary will gain the attention of individuals and organizations who care about marine life and ecosystems and encourage them to contribute to this very important cause. It has been proven throughout history that a single individual can make a great positive difference in the lives of so many. Each of us can be that person. Thanks to the vision of people throughout time, facilities like the Clearwater Marine Aquarium were created - even before marine rescue facilities were heard of. We now can offer animals a second chance at a comfortable and fulfilling life. To keep these non-profit facilities in motion as they grow to accommodate more animals in need, we need the support of people who understand the commitment required to save these animals and the habitats that we share with them. In my experience, giving to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is the same as giving to yourself. All of the beautiful vacation spots and wildlife that we enjoy exist because of active conservation efforts. I hope that I have inspired you to help us provide for these animals, their cousins in the wild, and ourselves. It feels great to be a positive influence on something so important. You can be part of it. The next time you're walking along beautiful Clearwater Beach enjoying the powder-white sand, admiring a colorful sunset, and staring with excited disbelief at the sight of a dolphin fin or soaring pelican, think about it!
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