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Stella's Whale Migration Launches in Florida

KEY LARGO, Fla., Oct. 9, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Children across Florida are taking part in a unique exercise in goal setting to help Stella — a near life-size illustration of a baby right whale — migrate 700 miles from one end of the state to the other.

Famed muralist Wyland and South Florida school children created the giant painting in spring 2012 as part of an effort to draw attention to the plight of the endangered North Atlantic right whale whose numbers have dwindled in recent years to less than 400 animals. To mirror the average traveling distance in a right whale's migration, Stella will stop every twenty miles at schools and children's centers, starting with a kickoff Oct. 14 in Key Largo and concluding Nov. 17 at the Right Whale Festival in Jacksonville.

Organizers including the Wyland Foundation, Harbor Branch Oceanographic at Florida Atlantic University, Florida Blue, Kids Eat Right and the Florida YMCA will host multi-media presentations with educators, nutritionists, and marine mammal experts at each school. Every stop will include a photo opportunity with Stella, and activities for students to use Stella's journey to identify their own goals for environmental conservation, health and wellness, and academic success.

"Stella gives students a chance to understand the perilous migration that whales undertake every year from their calving areas off Florida to the feeding grounds off Nova Scotia," says Wyland. "Her journey gives us a unique way of understanding the importance of overcoming obstacles to achieve goals."

Stella's journey can be followed on twitter by following the hash tag #stellathewhale, on Facebook at facebook.com/thewylandfoundation and on the web at www.wylandfoundation.org/stellasmigration. The website features an interactive board for schools to upload photos of Stella's visit to their institution, an animated map of Stella's journey, a video of Stella's creation, and teacher information kits with art contest materials, environmental science lessons, health and wellness tips, and activities about academic goal setting. The website also features submissions to the "Stella's Journey" art contest open to students grades K – 8th from across the state of Florida. Submissions will use the theme of Stella's migration to depict the importance of setting goals for healthier living and a healthier environment.

Schools are invited to participate in Stella's Migration on a first-come first served basis. The first twenty schools to participate will be entered into a drawing for an in-school visit from the Wyland Clean Water Mobile Learning Center, a 1,000-square foot environmental science museum on wheels. Stella's migration is underwritten by Florida Blue (www.FloridaBlue.com), the Wyland Foundation (www.wylandfoundation.org), and proceeds from the Protect Florida Whales license plate (www.protectfloridaswhales.org). Other sponsors include Toyota, Fredrix Artist Canvas, and National Van Lines.

For interviews or more information about Stella's migration through your community, please contact:

CONTACT: Steve Creech Executive Director Wyland Foundation (949) 436-2489 stevec@wyland.com Rebecca Seelig, PBPR (561) 628-5929 rseelig@pb-pr.comSource: Wyland