Wednesday, April 6, 2011

DRC Appeals for Community Support to Fund Trip for Students!

DRC's Co-Founder Mandy Rodriguez (center) engages students at the Manatee Rescue exhibit
For the last 13 years, Dolphin Research Center has provided Florida Keys school students with a free day of dolphins, fun activities and environmental education for Ocean Celebration Day. Now, school budget cuts and lack of buses and drivers have jeopardized this opportunity for more than 400 3rd grade and 5th grade students. Dolphin Research Center was informed yesterday by Lower Keys school systems that no transportation is available for students from Gerald Adams Elementary School, Sigsbee Charter School, Poinciana Elementary School and Sugarloaf School. The nonprofit marine mammal facility is now going all out to find funding to charter commercial buses so that the children can still attend the event on April 28th.

The cost will run upwards of $8400.00 and private companies need a commitment as soon as possible to secure the buses. In addition to reaching out to their own area supporters, DRC is asking residents, businesses and civic groups of the Florida Keys to help. To find out more and make a donation, please call Kevin Rapp at DRC at 289-1121, ext. 215, or donate online at For online donations, please include the words Ocean Celebration Day in the comments.

DRC was filled with students eagerly learning and enjoying the day

Ocean Celebration Day has welcomed hundreds of students each year for an action packed field trip. In addition to seeing dolphins and sea lions, the classes take part in activities connected to the ocean, Florida Keys ecology, animal welfare, and other concerns. All of this raises their awareness of their local resources and promotes good stewardship of the environment. Several other area organizations join DRC’s staff to stage these presentations. Already confirmed for this year are: The Turtle Hospital, Save-a-Turtle, Reef Relief, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Bahia Honda State Park, Sea Science from Crane Point Hammock, Everglades National Park, and National Key Dear Refuge.

“Education is a huge part of Dolphin Research Center’s mission. Every year we are excited to offer Ocean Celebration Day free of charge to these students in the Florida Keys. It’s a terrible shame that so many eager young minds could miss out on the event for lack of funds. We hope that the community will rally around and help us raise the money so these kids can attend,” says Rita Irwin, DRC’s President and CEO.

Founded in 1984, Dolphin Research Center is home to a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions. Located at 58901 (mile marker 59) Overseas Highway, Grassy Key, Florida, the nonprofit organization is funded by admission and program fees as well as by private donors and members. In addition to being one of the most highly respected education and research facilities in the world, DRC is the Licensed Manatee Rescue Team for the Florida Keys and is an accredited member of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums.

Students at a previous Ocean Celebration Day were capitvated by marine mammal artifacts


Anonymous said...

I envy those kids! They're so lucky. I think its a great idea though.