CMA Supporters Enjoy the Life Aquatic
Photos/text by Renee Burrell
Winter has graciously allowed the national spotlight to focus on eight time Olympic Swimming Gold Medal winner, Michael Phelps, aka 'The Dolphin', during the games
CLEARWATER BEACH - The Clearwater Marine Aquarium's (CMA) most famous rescue case, Winter the 2-1/2 year old bottle nose dolphin, has received an abundance of national attention and last June was featured on ABC’s Good Morning America and also on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. The story of her entrapment that caused her to lose her tail, and her response to human help has made everyone who hears it flip for her.
Being able to visit with Winter from the viewing platform above her tank is alone worth a visit to the Aquarium and, no doubt, the big reason why CMA has been enjoying record breaking attendance levels lately.
Aside from the star attraction, in their mission to preserve Florida’s marine environment through education, research, rescue and rehabilitation CMA provides enjoyable marine learning experiences along with human inspiration stories.
On a recent Saturday CMA hosted their first “Ted Williams Teammates Fishing Hall of Fame Tournament” led by TV's Captain Sergio Atanes. Boat and kayak anglers caught and released snook, redfish, and mackerel for prizes, while a community party and silent auction was held at the Aquarium. Proceeds from the event, which is planned to become a yearly tradition, are still being received and will benefit CMA programs.
Next summer on June 27, 2009, CMA will be at the heart of another inspirational story. Humanitarian and Winter devotee Joe Nolfo will embark from CMA on a three month motorcycle journey, a "Ride for Winter" that will take him through 30 states and across 15,000 miles. Nolfo has dedicated his life to fundraising for personal charities and humanitarian causes since losing a leg to a hit-and-run driver in 1982. In 2004 he rode a motorcycle around the continental U.S. to raise money for the Center for People with Disabilities. He hopes his Ride for Winter will bring added awareness to CMA's mission and Winter's rehabilitation.
CMA is located at 249 Windward Passage in Clearwater. They're open Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is: children 3-12 years $7.50, senior citizens $9 and adults $11. Special rates for groups are offered. For more information, including upcoming events, birthday party offerings, dolphin photo ops, animal encounters, sea eco and other tours, presentations, educational and volunteer opportunities, and more, phone (727) 441-1790 or go to:www.cmaquarium.org.
This piece of art by Joe Nolfo was a popular auction item Saturday. Nolfo will "Ride for Winter" in June 2009
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