Copyright 2018 - ● Manatee Observation and Education Center ● 480 North Indian River Drive Fort Pierce, FL 34950-3024 ● 772.429.6266


Special Campaign for a Generator at the Manatee Center

Thank you! This campaign is complete as of January 12th, 2018

PufferfishfaceThis holiday season, the Manatee Observation and Education Center embarked on a special giving campaign to raise funds for a full-sized generator. Thanks to a special donor match, we needed to raise only 50%, or $12,500, of the $25,000 cost of the generator.

The Manatee Center critters needed our help, and we turned to you, our community, to get us there. We launched this campaign on #GivingTuesday (November 28th, 2017), and raised our full $12,500 on January 12th, 2018. We are so thankful and proud to have raised these funds within only six weeks time. 

Thank you from all of us (and the critters) at the Manatee Center

The Short and Sweet 

The Manatee Center is a museum and environmental education center in Fort Pierce, FL. We display live species of native and nonnative fish and reptiles in large tanks for the education of our visitors.

Without a generator, our tanks, and your favorite neighborhood critters, are vulnerable to high temperatures, low oxygen levels and poor water quality during power outages. These conditions cause stress and can even kill the aquatic animals living within them. We love our critters and want to protect them from this fate.

We are now raising funds for a full-sized generator. The generator will cost $25,000. A generous sponsor will match all donations up to $12,500, meaning we only need to raise 50% of the cost of the generator.

About Us 

The Manatee Observation and Education Center was established in 1996 as St. Lucie County's first not-for-profit environmental education center. Our mission is to promote understanding and responsible actions for the protection of the Treasure Coast's fragile ecosystems and their inhabitants.

Over the years, the Center has become a special hub drawing visitors from all over the world for a chance to glimpse manatees from our observation walkway along Moore's Creek and the Indian River Lagoon. Our Exhibit Hall offers all visitors a chance to see native and non-native critters up close, and even hold some in their own hands at our touch tank. 

We have a social, eight-year old, Florida-native corn snake named Diego who loves people, 

 Diego long 3

a regal lion fish to demonstrate the beauty and dangers of this invasive species in our Lagoon, 

Lionfish 2

an eel whose name, Danger Noodle, was chosen by community members in a two-month naming competition through October 2017, 

MOEC Community eel all 2

and so much more.

We're a small team of only four staff members, with the amazing support of nearly 80 volunteers. Many of our volunteers have been with us for over ten years, and we are so proud to have their support. Together, we call ourselves The ManaTeam, working to raise awareness about our local environment through hands-on educational activities and community events.

Why Are We Fundraising? 

Our critters are not protected from power outages during hurricanes or storm events. Without power, the tank filters and water pumps stop running. There are only battery-powered aerators providing oxygen to the tanks. And there's no air conditioning to regulate the temperature of the building, meaning the water temperature of our tanks becomes too high for the fish living in them. 

We are asking for your support to help us buy and install a full-sized generator to protect our beloved critters from power outages, especially during hurricane season.

What Prompted this Fundraiser? 

Hurricane Activity

In September 2017, Hurricane Irma swept through Florida causing devastating flooding and damage throughout the state. Given our waterfront location, the Manatee Center fared very well and could have suffered much more damage.  We are grateful it did not.

Unfortunately, we also suffered losses. We lost our Pacific tank - a 200-gallon saltwater tank dedicated to Pacific species including our very own Nemo and Dori fish. This tank was lost in an attempt to save it. We added fresh water to prevent salinity issues in the event of a power outage, causing metals from the top of the tank to leach into the water. We lost this tank before the storm even began.

Pacific tank damage

During and after the storm, the Manatee Center lost power for over three days. Without power and air conditioning, the temperature of the building climbed to dangerously high temperatures, causing the temperature of our fish tanks to rise. We are fortunate that the majority of our critters survived these power outages and temperature hikes, but unfortunately lost one of our four seahorses, and harmed them all. 

Seahorse laying down

Seahorses are much more sensitive to oxygen levels (which require moving water via filters and aerators) and temperatures (which are normally regulated by electric chillers). We soon lost a second seahorse, likely to a combination of stress and heartache at losing his partner. 

Puffer fish stress 3

All of our critters suffered during the power outages. It was heartbreaking to watch, and we hope to protect them from suffering this kind of hardship again. This is why we are asking for your help now.

We are a public, not-for-profit organization. All funds received will be directed to the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Treasure Coast Manatee Foundation, whose sole function is to fundraise for environmental education through the Manatee Center.

Thank you! This campaign is complete as of January 12, 2018.

Please stay tuned for updates about our new generator