This Florida county needs your help watching manatees

Anyone who spends time near water urged to volunteer

(Associated Press)

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Wanted: Volunteers who can help observe and photograph manatees in Volusia County waterways.

Volusia County public officials put out a news release Friday urging anyone who spends a lot of time near the water or are avid boaters to volunteer for the Manatee Watch program.

“The Manatee Watch training is a great opportunity to learn all about Florida’s official marine mammal,” said Debbie Wingfield, 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.”

Volunteers for the Manatee Watch program will learn how to observe and document manatee sightings, which also includes learning to sketch scar patterns. Information gathered by the Manatee Watchers helps wildlife officials study sea cow behavior, habitat use and movement within waterways.

Anyone 16 and older can volunteer for the program. To register for one of the upcoming free training courses, contact Ashley Ambert by emailing AAmbert@volusia.org or calling 386-736-5927, ext. 12839.

The training sessions are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 2 at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach and on Feb. 6 from 10 a.m. to noon in the first-floor training room of the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Center in DeLand.

For more information about the Manatee Watch program, click here.

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