The two-day event features a juried wildlife exhibit and sale and a symposium featuring wildlife experts Lee Nesler, executive director of the Lemur Conservation Foundation, Jeff Kremer, director of donor appreciation at Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue, and Dr. Norm Griggs, a veterinarian who designed an innovative stem cell procedure for a Florida panther.
(Sarasota, FL) The Rotary Club of Sarasota and Save Our Seabirds present the second annual Sarasota Wildlife Art Festival and Wildlife Symposium, Saturday and Sunday, March 1 and 2, 2014, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at , Save Our Seabirds, 1708 Ken Thompson Parkway, City Island, Sarasota. Tickets are $5 for adults; children 12 and under are admitted free. Admission entitles guests to free entry to the Save Our Seabirds Wild Bird Learning Center and a $5 discount on admission to Mote Marine during the festival. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Proceeds from the festival will benefit Save Our Seabirds and the Rotary Club of Sarasota Foundation. For information, visit www.sarasotawildlifefest.com or call 941-840-1193.
The event features a juried exhibition of wildlife-inspired art and fine crafts by more than 40 painters, sculptors, photographers, jewelers and other craftspeople. The works, which will be for sale, were juried by volunteers of Ringling College of Art and Design instructors and staff. Along with plenty of family-friendly activities, there will be guided tours of Save Our Seabirds and each day the Sarasota Ski-a-Rees will perform their water team ski show adjacent to the Save Our Seabirds Wild Bird Learning Center.
The event also features a symposium with prominent speakers in the field of wildlife rehabilitation and other environmental topics. Headlining the symposium are Lee Nesler, executive director and CEO of the Lemur Conservation Foundation in Myakka City; Jeff Kremer, director of donor appreciation at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa; and Dr. Norm Griggs, who has performed innovative stem cell therapy on a Florida panther named Buddah from the Tallahassee Museum of Natural History. Other speakers include Barbara Walker, volunteer for Audubon Florida’s Eagle watch program, and Debi Osborne, director of land protection with the Conservation Foundation of Gulf Coast.
“Last year’s festival succeeded beyond our expectations,” says Robert Gaglio, vice president of Comerica Wealth Management and chair of this event. “Due to its success, we were able to grant more than $13,000 to the Save Our Seabirds Wild Bird Learning Center, and other charitable organizations,” he says, adding that he expects the event to be even larger this year. “Our mission at Save Our Seabirds is as much to do with education as it is to do with rehabilitation of birds. This festival brings together artists, creators and wildlife experts—all of whom have a passion for the natural world. This event is more than a fundraiser; it’s a heartfelt celebration of our connection to the wildlife we live with and love.”
Wildlife Symposium Speakers
Throughout the two-day event a series of panels will feature speakers discussing various topics—from wildlife issues to environmental conditions in Florida.
Featured speakers featured include:
Lee Nesler (Executive director and CEO of the Lemur Conservation Foundation) Lee Nesler joined the Lemur Conservation Foundation in Myakka City as its executive director and CEO in 2011. After earning a degree in animal science with a specialization in animal behavior from the University of Illinois, Nesler completed a two-year internship at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. Her career includes participation in field studies around the world, including in Siberia, Costa Rica, India, Mexico, and Africa. Along with impressive zoological and scientific credentials and experience, Nesler has unique insights into the animal and human bond both through years of striving to understand animals on their own terms, and working to educate communities about the animals they directly or indirectly share their lives with.
Jeff Kremer (Director of donor appreciation at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa) Jeff Kramer was born and raised in the Tampa Bay area. After spending 21 years working for Honeywell Space Systems in Clearwater, he chose to embark upon a career that focused on his lifelong interest in the field of animal welfare. As director of donor appreciation at Big Cat Rescue, the world’s largest accredited rescue facility for exotic cats, he enjoys helping raise awareness about the plight of abused and abandoned big cats.
Dr. Norm Griggs A veterinarian who is active in rescuing and caring for Florida wildlife, Dr. Norm Griggs and his wife, Melody, founded the Shepherd Spring Animal Hospital in Wakulla County. Dr. Griggs recently helped the Tallahassee Museum’s male Florida panther by providing an innovative stem cell procedure that could potentially help heal a problem in his leg and also help big cats with injuries worldwide.
For more information about the Sarasota Wildlife Art Festival, visit www.sarasotawildlifefest.com.
Save Our Seabirds
Save Our Seabirds rescues and cares for about 2,000 birds per year. The organization receives distress calls from caring citizens throughout the Sarasota-Manatee area. Its initial response is to ascertain what might be wrong with the bird and whether it is feasible to catch the bird and bring it to the organization’s hospital. After this determination is made, the nearest available volunteer rescuer is dispatched to transport the bird to the hospital for treatment. Save Our Seabirds does everything it can do to rehabilitate and release the bird back into the wild, preferably near the place where it was rescued. The most common injuries are caused by fish hooks, automobiles and golf balls.
The Rotary Club of Sarasota Foundation
The Rotary Club of Sarasota Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3), is the charitable arm of The Rotary Club of Sarasota. The Foundation’s mission is to support the Rotary Club of Sarasota’s efforts to improve the surrounding community through humanitarian, educational and charitable endeavors with a focus on youth and children.