ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. –
Students from Millennia Gardens Elementary School Eco Club this week donated grew 1,000 heads of lettuce from a student hydroponics garden to SeaWorld Orlando's Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Program.
It took the students nearly a month to grow the lettuce in an after-school program. Students ranging from third to fifth grade learned skills through the program, including environmental protection, math and teamwork.
“We are so proud of the Millennia Gardens Elementary Eco Club. The teachers and students have put a lot of hard work into the hydroponics garden. It truly is an outdoor classroom where everyone can learn,” said principal Anne Lynaugh. “The new partnership with SeaWorld is a wonderful and unexpected benefit that we hope will continue for years to come.”
The SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team rescues between 20 and 40 animals annually, the majority manatees. With vegetation being the primary diet for manatees, SeaWorld relies on hundreds of pounds of lettuce daily to feed the these rescued manatees. Through this new partnership, SeaWorld Orlando and Millennia Gardens Elementary School will work together to feed the manatees.
“This donation is a truly amazing one,” said manager of animal rescue at SeaWorld Orlando, Jon Peterson. “To have these young kids come together, volunteer their time, learn how to grow lettuce and then donate it to the animals in our care – I cannot think of anything more meaningful and special.”
SeaWorld Orlando has invited the participating students and teachers to visit SeaWorld Orlando and spend the night with rescued manatees during an educational sleepover field trip.
The Millennia Gardens Elementary Eco Club has already begun on its second harvest with hopes of completing it before the end of the school year.