Subject: 'Manatee Express' takes off fo

r.mallon1@genie.geis.com
Sun, 6 Oct 96 22:06:00 GMT

'Manatee Express' takes off for Sea World;  ...

  WASHINGTON (Oct. 3) BUSINESS WIRE -Oct. 3, 1996--To celebrate the Postal
Service's new manatee postage stamp, a group of Pennsylvania students -- whose
letter writing campaign helped get the stamp -- began a bus trip Thursday that
will take them to a special ceremony at Sea World of Orlando, home of the
country's leading manatee research facility.
   Called the "Manatee Express," the students and their teacher began their
journey from ZooAmerica in Hershey, Pa.  The first stop for the class will be
Washington, D.C., where they will be recognized by the National Geographic
Society for their efforts on behalf of the endangered manatee.
   The next stop for the Manatee Express will be Atlanta and then a final stop
at
Sea World on Oct. 7, where they will be special guests in a manatee stamp
celebration.
   "We were happy to hear from these wonderful young people who showed such an
interest in the manatee," said Pennsylvanian LeGree S. Daniels, a U.S. Postal
Service Governor.  "Their letters made a difference."
   In 1992, teacher Sylvia Wood and her class of third graders at Westfield
Area
Elementary school began writing what would become more than a thousand letters
to the Postal Service's Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, the Postmaster
General, politicians, and community leaders, in support of a manatee postage
stamp.
   Those students, now seventh graders, began a campaign that would continue
with
subsequent third grade classes at the school.
   "My third graders took a real interest in raising awareness of the manatee,"
said Wood.  "As their teacher, I am very proud of the students.  They set a
long term goal and were able to achieve it, realizing that results are not
always instantaneous."
   The actions by the students of Westfield Area Elementary on behalf of the
environment have received national attention.  The class has received
correspondence and encouragement from the office of former President George
Bush,Tipper Gore, and singer Jimmy Buffet, among others.
   "I am very excited about the stamp, about the trip, and about the chance to
visit the manatees," said Julie Hess, former third grader at Westfield Area
Elementary school.  "We learned so much about the 'sea cows' and now we get to
see them up close."
   Fifteen animals found on the United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Endangered Species list will be featured on the stamps.  The 32-cent stamps
include: the Black-footed ferret, Thick-billed parrot, Hawaiian monk seal,
American crocodile, Ocelot, Schaus swallowtail butterfly, Wyoming toad, Brown
pelican, California condor, Gila trout, San Francisco garter snake, Woodland
caribou, Florida panther, Piping plover,
and the Florida manatee.
   The stamps are base on photographs taken by world-renowned nature
photographer
James Balog.  Balog's work has appeared in publications such as National
Geographic and Outside magazine, and has been featured in exhibitions
worldwide.
   The stamps were officially issued in a ceremony at the San Diego Zoo on Oct.
2,
and are available at post offices nationwide.