Off-Campus Field Trip

Provider: Save Our Seabirds (SOS)

Contact: Lori Gentile

Starting cost per student: $0

Additional Info:

Max. Capacity: 25

Transportation Needed?  Yes

Who Arranges Transportation? Other (see description)

Is Financial Assistance Offered?  No


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

 “Explore Careers that Rescue, Care for and Save the Lives of Wildlife!”

Our world is surrounded by nature and the life that resides within…the manatees in the creeks, fish in the lakes, and the myriad species of birds in the woodlands and on the beaches.  According to Mahatma Gandhi, “One can measure the greatness and the moral progress of a nation by looking at how it treats its animals.” Most all of us believe we have a responsibility to preserve and protect our wildlife. The employees and volunteers at Save Our Seabirds (SOS), echoing  Jane Goodall words,  maintain that, “Only if we UNDERSTAND…Only if we CARE…Only if we HELP…Shall they be Saved.” Save our Seabirds, with the help of animal hospital personnel, staff, and volunteer guides, are currently caring for and protecting pelicans, owls, ospreys, and so many more! To help them understand, students will experience an exciting  three rotations involving the many careers and technologies that are crucial in successful operation of a model wildlife hospital and sanctuary (see SOS Skimmer Triage pdf under “Materials” to the left.) This is the only exploration that allows behind-the-scenes access to Save Our Seabirds!

Come see the sandhill cranes and other birds that have been fitted with prosthetic legs!

The rotations may include the following activities:

Rotation one:  Animal Hospital Technician.

  1. Careers include: Radiologist Animal hospital technician; Wildlife rescue/rehabilitation specialist; Veterinary personnel.
  2. Hands-on interactive activities involve: A behind-the-scenes tour of the hospital, an overview of the technician’s duties, and a review of daily dietary requirements for different bird species followed by the assignment, “Food for Healing”.
  3. Industry standard/Outcome (or “soft skill”):  Planning and attention to detail; collaboration; general understanding that different wildlife species/birds have different dietary requirements.


Considering that Save Our Seabirds receives over 4000 distress calls each year, taking care of those calls require a wide range of collaborating careers including animal care workers, wildlife biologists, avian scientists, veterinarians and vet techs, and administrative personnel. For example, David Pilston, CEO of Save Our Seabirds, has spent most of his career helping to build successful technology companies, but he is also a life-long environmentalist. He indicated that “becoming CEO was a perfect opportunity to match his business skills with his love of nature.” It takes dreaming, learning, and doing to transform a wildlife hospital and sanctuary into a learning center that benefits both our natural environment and our community.

“If your actions inspire to dream more, learn more, do more, and to become  more, you are a leader.”  ~John Quincy Adams

 Rotation two: Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Manager.

  1. Careers include: Managing Director/Leader; Company management; General office management; Not-for-profit management; Accounting/bookkeeping.
  2. Hands-on interactive activities: After an overview of managerial duties at Save Our Seabirds, students will be presented with a variety of simulations, some of which might include: a call about a bird in distress; a request from staff to order supplies; a request for information about memberships or general information.  Students, assuming the role of manager, will take notes about an event, describe and/or simulate an appropriate response, and discuss the skills involved.
  3.  Industry standard/outcome (or “soft skill”): General office procedures; record-keeping; attention to detail; communication (effective speaking, listening, writing); computer skills; math proficiency; working as part of a team.


Organizations like Save Our Seabirds cannot survive without volunteers! For example docents, people who act as guides, play a critical role in educating the public. Effective communication skills are key!

“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”   ~ Martin Luther King

Rotation three: Docent/Guide.

  1. Careers include: Educator; Wildlife Rescue/Rehabilitation Educator; Curriculum planner.
  2. Hands-on interactive activities involve: An overview of docent’s duties. Students will be provided with basic information about specific birds to review. Students will then act as a docent for that bird, telling about the bird, its status at Save Our Seabirds, and general natural history facts.
  3. Industry standard (or “soft skill”): Effective communication (speaking, listening) with diverse audiences, adapting presentations accordingly; general knowledge of the environment/ecosystems; general knowledge of local habitats; general understanding of the work of wildlife/bird rescue and rehabilitation; promoting environmental stewardship.


This exploration provides active learning that reinforces classroom experiences, exposes students to real-world workplace environments, and allows discovery of career options. Relevance is key! When connections are made between what is being taught and career aspiration…and  hearts are touched, then two things happen.  First, those students understand the need to register for upper level science courses in high school; and, the need for high demand professions may be filled. When teachers, students, and parents can assess meaningful connections and transfer that knowledge from class to real world, everyone benefits.


“Experiential learning can be an effective method for helping students integrate course material into their day-to-day lives, actualizing the material in a real-world setting, thereby increasing the value and retention of the material.” (Center of Innovation in Research and Training: June 14, 2013)



THE EDUCATION FOUNDATION OF SARASOTA COUNTY is serving as the coordinating organization for the EdExploreSRQ Interactive (or Experiential) Career Series. 


SC. 68.CS-PC. 2.6, SC. 68.CS-PC 2.8, SC. 68.CS-PC 1.1, LAFS.68.RH.1.2, LAFS.68.RST.3.9, MAFS.K12.MP.3, MAFS.K12.MP.1.1, SS.8.FL.1, CIP.0614130100, Program #: 8401100

Contact Us

Questions? Comments? Let us hear from you!