Long Beach Elementary second grader Kayli Link loves manatees.
But she doesn’t like the fact that around 20-40 percent of the dangers manatees face come from humans.
So she decided to do something about it.
Kayli was assigned an Amazing Animal project for her class and chose the manatee, an endangered species. In her research, she and her mom, Laura Link, read a book called Sammy the Seacow in which a manatee gets stuck in a drain.
“She was so upset about it,” said her mom. “And I said, why don’t you try and do something to help them?”
And she did.
Kayli turned her class project into a school-wide activity to help bring awareness to the dangers manatees face. She turned a cereal box into "Manatee Crunch" that she designed with facts, pictures and her thoughts on the manatee
She has been touring almost every classroom at Long Beach and presenting to the students about what manatees, which Kayli said are also called sea cows and gentle giants, are and how to help them.
“To know a manatee is to love a manatee,” said Kayli, as she introduced her project to James Nichols third grade class. Her stuffed manatee, Cuddles, accompanied her for the presentation.
“They look like they could be mean, but they really are nice animals,” said Kayli.
Her project to help save the manatee involves students coloring a picture of a manatee, which she will mail to the Governor of Florida, Mark Scott. Kayli’s grandparents live on Marco Island in Florida, which is the home of the manatee.
“Kayli has really turned her class project into something bigger. She has endless drive, a big heart and will not give up,” said Laura Link.
“I love manatees,” said Kayli. “And I hope I can help protect them with better laws.”