2017 Save Our Seabirds Soiree Overlooking Sarasota Bay
The Save Our Seabirds Sunset Soiree is an annual fundraising event supporting the Save Our Seabirds organization. This year’s event was held at Michael’s on the Bay at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens on Thursday, March 30th.
Event Chair Lisa Hartmann & Save Our Seabirds CEO David Pilston
The mission of Save Our Seabirds (www.saveourseabirds.org) is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release sick and injured wild birds while educating the community about preventing injuries and preserving habitats. Each year, they respond to over 4,000 calls about birds in distress. Birds that have been treated but are unable to be returned to the wild are given permanent homes in the Wild Bird Learning Center across from Mote Marine Laboratory.
Planning for this event begins each fall, when Anju and Kathleen sit down with the Save Our Seabirds planning committee to begin hashing out the details. On the day of the event, Team Xplor is on site to make sure the everything goes off without a hitch. Set up, registration, Glitz in a Glass, silent and live auctions, the Matching Challenge, payments, and the overall execution and organization of the event all were expertly carried out by the team.
This year’s event began with a cocktail hour featuring hors d'oeuvres, photo opportunities with birds, and a silent auction. The 25 silent auction items included amazing prizes such as driving a Porsche for the weekend, a Sarasota shopping spree, restaurant baskets (gift cards to shops and restaurants in Sarasota), dinner and theater tickets, and a directors’ reserve wine basket (different wines from all locations and dates, all donated by SOS board of directors members). There were also four live auction items, including a Center for Great Apes private tour, full day fishing charter, and an Italian dinner experience in your own house with seven courses, a chef, and an opera singer (WOW!).
Another highlight of the evening was the Glitz in a Glass Diamond Raffle. Glittering in the sun, 100 glasses of champagne were available for $100 each. 99 of those glasses contained a cubic zirconium diamond…but one lucky winner pulled a real one-carat diamond out of their glass of bubbly.
Toward the end of the evening, the guests watched a video about the importance of Save Our Seabirds, and then played the matching challenge. CEO David Pilston reminded guests that the mission of Save Our Seabirds is what he termed, “a place of healing and a place of learning,” and is becoming more critical every day. Worldwide, out of 10,000 species of birds, one in eight is already threatened with extinction and here in the United States, the news is even worse, with 30 percent of our native species now facing that same fate. As the evening wrapped up, guests could take home a plush seagull for $20 or donate any amount of their choosing.
The Sixth Annual Sunset Soiree this year brought nearly 250 supporters of the sea birds together. Our own Anju Lynn is now the chair of the Save Our Seabirds Advisory Council. The Advisory Council’s goal is to expand the organization’s reach in the community and to leverage the expertise and connections of highly respected community leaders. Planning for the 2018 Soiree on April 5th at Michael’s on East will be starting soon!