Clearwater Aquarium’s Buddy Powell to Talk “Manatees & Mermaids”

An iconic species in the Sunshine State, Florida manatees face unprecedented threats to their health and habitats.

A majestic sight in Florida’s rivers and coastal waters, manatees are as beloved as they are emblematic of the Sunshine State. Yet the large aquatic mammals – whose paddle-shaped tails and graceful swimming may have inspired the myth of mermaids – might be more threatened than ever in Florida and other places they dwell.

That’s why Stetson Law hosted James “Buddy” Powell, PhD, one of the world’s leading experts on manatees, for a Foreman Biodiversity Lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

President of Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) and director of the facility’s Research Institute, Powell has spent decades advocating for greater protections for manatees and other vulnerable marine species. His work has led to protections for manatees and their habitats in Florida, West Africa, Central America and Cuba.

An inspiration for future environmental lawyers

For members of the Stetson Law community who are passionate about protecting manatees and other marine life, his lecture will be an enlightening exploration of the ways in which advocacy can help manatees and other species thrive.

“Dr. Powell’s work is truly an inspiration to those of us who want to foster a world where public policy prioritizes the health of wildlife species and their habitats,” said Law Professor Paul Boudreaux, JD, who is co-director of Stetson Law’s Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy.

From Cousteau to Clearwater

For Powell, it all started not too far from Stetson Law’s campus in waterfront Gulfport. Jacques Cousteau himself hired Powell, then a high-school student, as a guide to find manatees in Crystal River, Florida, where scores of them gather in winter for the (relative) warmth of the river’s 72-degree springs. Though he has lived all over the globe, Powell is a Floridian at heart and considers his work at Clearwater Marine Aquarium his “true calling.”

-Media contact: Kate Bradshaw
[email protected] | 727-430-1580