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New Save Our Seabirds Project Advances Environmental Behavior Change

Waterford is pleased to be an advisor on a newly announced environmental education and outreach project, funded by the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, that advances environmentally conscious behaviors for seabirds. Nan Summers with High Impact Networks, a leading expert in emotional intelligence and environmental education, directs the project. Save Our Seabirds, a Sarasota-area nonprofit, will partner with the team on this important initiative.

The project’s environmental, learning, and outreach objectives are

1) Teaching the value of birds;

2) Learning how to protect them and their habitat; and

3) Connecting with others to co-create behavioral change.

Our approach to discovering how improving the lives of birds benefits our lives will generate a replicable education and stewardship project that can be used by non-profits as an income stream.

In late April, the project was featured in the “Flying Together by Co-Navigating Our Emotions” session, held as part of the recent Six Seconds Climate of Emotions Conference.

The goal was to emphasize the value of Emotional Intelligence in environmental education. With better education about the role and importance of birds, and how improving the lives of birds benefits our lives, we can change our behaviors to better support and live alongside our bird populations.

During this 90-minute event, participants from the US and abroad explored how our humanity is defined through our connection with what is not human. How true empathy connects us through our emotions with the natural world we are part of.

The exploration used different tools: playful creating, body awareness, and drawing, which were presented by a combination of experts from the field, including Nan Summers/High Impact Networks, Christoph Stein/Consultant and Coach, David Carr/Sarasota School for the Arts, Abbie and Becky Johnson, Eric Sweetman/Artist, Hannady Halaby/High Impact Networks, Shannon Stratman/USF, Dr. Jessica Lipham, and Beth Offenbacker with Waterford, Inc., in addition to young participants aged 9-19 attending the Sarasota School for the Arts.

Participants created a custom card featuring a beloved or endangered bird from their community to share with others across the world. In addition to introducing the unique characteristics of their chosen bird hero, the reverse side of the card introduced themselves and a few special talents and abilities that they offer. During the session, participants also met fellow human heroes who rescue and rehabilitate injured birds, and learned about related careers, and ways that all citizens can help birds survive and thrive. Following the workshop, attendees were encouraged to share their cards through posting or trading in order to help build new connections and provide a model that can be implemented by any group in any community.

The grant project will build on these successes by engaging the community in educational efforts about bird protection and its importance. Sponsors will be cultivated to underwrite the cost of the products to be generated. Proceeds from product sales will be directly contributed to the non-profit organizational partners. The knowledge gained from Save Our Seabirds will then be applied when working with local residents to create artwork depicting Florida's bird species to be featured on the collectibles (towels, trading cards, and bags) created. Through the sale of these items to both tourists and residents, social awareness and knowledge about birds will be raised. Ultimately, large numbers of individuals who were once unaware of the importance of birds and the effects their actions had on them will be made aware and act as protectors and advocates for Sarasota-Manatee seabird populations.

See this brief slideshow by Hannady Halaby with highlights of the cards created and photos from the COE event.

Watch additional sessions from Climate of Emotions on the Six Seconds YouTube channel.

Can we help with building and sustaining the skills you or your team need to advance professionally or advancing the sustainability goals of your organization? Reach out to Beth Offenbacker, PhD, CPCC, ACC, at or via phone or text at 703-623-4811 to discuss if our Green Career, Executive/Leadership Coaching, Small Group Coaching and Mentoring, or Performance Management Consulting services are right for you. We work with professionals and organizations that have a sustainability focus in their work. All services are customized to your needs.

Want to learn more about how Waterford, Inc.'s Outreach and Engagement? Click here.

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