Our beautiful natural environment is an important component of the wonderful quality of life that we so treasure in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Many of us moved to Florida specifically because of its natural beauty. Save Our Seabirds is dedicated to doing our part to preserve that natural beauty for generations to come.
There are approximately 10,000 species of birds in the world. One in eight is threatened with extinction in the next 30 to 50 years. In the U.S., it’s even worse. There are about 1,000 species of birds, and one third are threatened with extinction.
Our local and migratory bird populations are under severe threat from automobiles, fish hooks, golf balls, loss of habitat, and environmental toxins. Our many ecological programs, including bird rescue, rehabilitation, release, education, and the promotion of solar power and environmentally friendly native plants, contribute to the general quality of life of all Floridians.
Birds also have a significant positive economic impact. A recent study found that more tourists come to Florida to bird-watch than to golf, and they spend more money here. Wildlife viewing – and particularly bird watching – are big business in Florida. In 2011, wildlife viewing activities generated more than $4.9 billion for Florida’s economy. Wildlife viewing in Florida supports 44,623 full- and part-time jobs. That is more jobs than the entire air transportation industry (35,268 jobs) statewide. (US Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Moreover, birds are considered to be a “Sentinel Species,” which means that, if the birds are in trouble, humans are not far behind!
In a practical sense, educating the public about the types of injuries that we encounter in our avian hospital every day can greatly reduce the number of those injuries.
In a broader philosophical sense, we want to help create the next generation of environmentalists. That requires getting kids “off the couch” and back in touch with nature. We strive to do our part to overcome our nation’s epidemic of “Nature Deficit Disorder” and the health issues that result, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
We offer four fully-accredited, age-appropriate school field trips that provide opportunities for outdoor, nature-based education for children of all ages, bolstering lifelong learning and promoting physical and mental good health.
Our robust college internship program has welcomed interns from Cornell University, Penn State University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of New Hampshire, The University of Illinois, UC Santa Barbara, New College, USF, the University of Florida, the University of Minnesota, the University of Arizona, and many others.
We host hundreds of children every summer from the Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Department’s Summer Camp Program.
Our unique Wild Bird Learning Center, which is essentially a living museum, offers fascinating educational displays featuring live birds that have been injured and treated, but are unable to be returned to the wild. Strolling along our beautiful “Birdwalk,” visitors compare and contrast the various types of diversification and adaptation that make each species unique, and also gain an insight into why each species has evolved specific features, such as beaks, legs, feathers, or feet, in order to survive in their respective natural habitats. Visitors also learn about the various environmental risks to birds, and how to help minimize them.
Our Birdwalk also serves a broader environmental education purpose. Our Native Plant project, installed as part of a Rotary District 6960 Conference project in 2013, has filled our sanctuary with native plants and corresponding interpretive signage that explains the importance of native plants to the general environment and also highlights the specific inter-dependencies between plants and birds. Our 10 kilowatt solar panel array, donated by FPL, will not only provide approximately one-third of our energy needs, but has also become another important educational asset, with interpretive signage and a video kiosk that explain the importance of solar power to our environment.