Updated: Jun 27, 2022
Our manatee conservation campaign has kicked off! After a lot of planning and hard work, we’re now ready to show the fruits of our labor, and share what the experience was like putting it all together! This was a really neat project to take part in. As a wildlife conservation minor, I was super intrigued at the prospect of getting to help out in that space. What’s exciting is that every designer at UP Cycle Design had a hand in putting this conservation campaign together, and helping to save the manatees.
Why did we put together a manatee conservation campaign? One reason is because in the first half of this year, 2021, at least 850 manatees have died. This is a huge increase from the past 2 years, where manatee deaths totaled in the 300s for each year. Check out The Florida Man… atees Need Our Help post from earlier this year for a better understanding of what manatees have been through. To quickly summarize, manatees have been dying of starvation due to dwindling amounts of sea grass (the manatees’ main source of food) and chemical poisoning in the water.
Manatees are important to the ecosystem because they help control vegetation in Florida’s water, stopping plants from becoming overgrown and obstructing waterways, while also eliminating invasive species. They are also great bioindicators: organisms used to monitor the health of an ecosystem. And since so many have died this year alone, we can infer that the ecosystem is not currently healthy. However, without manatees, we would have no simple way to tell.
Another reason for our campaign is because there aren’t that many conservation efforts outside of Florida, at least that we’ve found in our research. That being said, if you know of any, feel free to let us know about them! We wanted to create a campaign outside of Florida to help spread awareness of the gentle giants and their plight.
So, as I mentioned above, each one of us had a part to play in putting this campaign together. Initially, the idea was brought up at one of mine and Sierra’s weekly meetings. She had shared her love of manatees, and knowing about my conservationist side, sent me an article detailing the rough year for the sea cow. We both knew that we wanted to help. Shortly after our meeting, I started drafting some sketches to be used for our new campaign design. I sent those off to Michelle, who scanned them and uploaded them digitally, and then passed them off to our new design interns, Riciah and Öykü, who finalized them, and then prototypes were made. Along each step of the way, we had progress updates where we got to share opinions about the design. And then finally, we all voted on what would be the actual design:
You can see some of the pictures of the process down below:
To make things even better, we have a partnership with Save The Manatee Club! We are hoping to be able to use proceeds from sales of the manatee design sticker to support this organization in their mission. Save The Manatee Club is one of the largest manatee conservation campaigns in Florida. Established in 1981 by singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett and former US Senator Bob Graham, Save the Manatee Club aims to protect habitat, spread awareness, ensure regulations, and reduce harassment from human activity. You can learn more about them on their website, and you can also support them directly by donating via this link: https://www.savethemanatee.org/how-to-help/support-manatee-protection/
Last but not least, here's a video that all of us at UP Cycle Design put together. Please, please, please give it a watch and share it with your family, friends, and anybody else you think would want to help save the manatees.
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