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News Release

State grant helps Tampa Electric expand environmental education programs

TAMPA, January 30, 2001

John Ramil

Tampa Electric President John Ramil welcomed Tampa-area environmental, community and government leaders on Jan. 30 to Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center, where the company announced a new state grant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to help fund expanded environmental education programs at the South Hillsborough County facility.

Tampa Electric Company officials, along with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission representatives, announced today a new state grant to fund expanded environmental education programs at Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center.
Funded by Florida's Save the Manatee specialty license tag, the $41,500 grant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be used for a volunteer recruitment and training program to provide knowledgeable educators at the center.

This is the first time Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center has received a state grant since the facility opened in 1986. The center is located next to Tampa Electric's Big Bend Station in Apollo Beach.

"Tampa Electric Company is very pleased to be a part of this community partnership," said Tampa Electric President John Ramil. "We are excited about this opportunity to look outside our core business to find new ways to serve our community," he said.

Experts from Lowry Park Zoo and The Florida Aquarium, together with Tampa Electric, will provide the expertise and training to the volunteer educators who will give more than 2,000 hours of service during the next year. So far, 14 volunteers have received more than 12 hours of comprehensive training.

Volunteer educator training programs provide increased understanding of the importance of coastal and freshwater ecosystems to the survival of the Florida manatee, environmental and biological aspects of the manatee and education and interpretive teaching techniques. Once trained, these docents will supplement the self-guided learning experience currently in place at the Manatee Viewing Center.

The state grant also provides for the added benefit of allowing private and public entities to join together in helping increase understanding of environmental stewardship, by:

  • Teaching the importance of coastal and related freshwater ecosystems to manatee survival.
  • Providing opportunities for Tampa Bay residents to become involved in activities to benefit those systems.
  • Building upon Tampa Electric's hugely popular manatee center.

Brought together by Tampa Electric, an advisory team of community environmental leaders will help guide the grant and provide leadership for this important project. Team members include Lowry Park Zoo, The Florida Aquarium, Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation Department, National Audubon Society, Tampa Audubon Society, Nature's Classroom, Florida Marine Research Institute, and the Florida Department of Education.

For more information call the Manatee Viewing Center at 813-228-4289 or, on the Web,

MEDIA CONTACT: Ross Bannister – Tampa Electric 813/ 228-4945

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