Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Fur, Feathers, Fins & Friends Service Group
by Jake Seymour
Now in its third year, Fur, Feathers, Fins and Friends continued its pledge to help those who help those who truly cannot help themselves: the animals of the Bay Area.
Monday began with a bus ride to Shorecrest’s new educational partner, Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Students helped the staff prepare for this year’s turtle nesting season by painting hundreds of wooden stakes with reflective yellow paint so that new nests can be clearly marked and avoided by beachgoers. After lunch and a tour of the facility, students completed a trash cleanup around the facility’s bayou and along the causeway.
On Tuesday, they made the long trek to The Center for Great Apes in Wachula. While there, students helped beautify and landscape the grounds in preparation for their upcoming member event. Students were given a tour and introduced to many of the 45 chimpanzees and orangutans who have been retired from show business or rescued from deplorable conditions as pets of people who were unprepared and unable to care for them.
Wednesday took the volunteers back and forth across the Skyway Bridge. In the morning, students visited Southeast Guide Dogs in Sarasota, a facility that raises and trains dogs to help veterans and people with disabilities. Students helped to socialize eight-week-old pups as part of their “puppy hugging” program and took several older dogs for walks around the grounds. After a scenic picnic at the foot of the Skyway, they headed up to Largo to The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). After pouring concrete “paws” in preparation for the SPCA’s summer camp programs, students were given treats to feed the rescued livestock on the grounds. The tour of the newly renovated shelter was sad, but allowed students to understand the need for no-kill shelters, the importance of donations and the need for volunteer service.
Thursday was when students really got a feel for the work of maintaining a shelter! The group divided efforts to help Pet Pal Rescue, a local, non-profit adoption, rescue and fostering organization. One group went to Pet Pal’s thrift store to help move, sort, organize, and tag donations, the sale of which helps to fund the shelter where the other members of the group went. At Pet Pal, students spent the morning doing the “dirty work” of cleaning the kennels, organizing supplies, and feeding and watering of the strays in the shelter. The afternoon was spent supervising the rotation of the dogs into the play yards, playing with them and, of course, cleaning up after them.
The week was exhausting, but left the students more aware of and connected to the good work these important organizations do!