March is Women’s History Month where we celebrate the contributions of women throughout American history. At Tampa Bay Rescues, we are excited to celebrate founder Sonny Flynn, who is making history in her own right throughout the Greater Tampa Bay region and beyond.
History of Women’s History Month
During the last year of his presidency, Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th, 1980 as National Women’s History Week. Quoting historian Dr. Gerda Lerner in his speech “Women’s History is Women’s Rights”, Carter urged his community organizers to focus their observances on the leaders who struggled for equality.
Now, of course today, we know of Women’s History Week as Women’s History Month. Established as the month of March, this observance was passed by Congress in 1995, and since then has continued to be the time in which we embrace the women who have shaped the communities we live in today.
Introducing Sonny Flynn
Growing up, Sonny found herself surrounded by the hospitality industry. With her parents running a small pizza parlor, she started helping once she was tall enough to clean the tables. Instilling a small business owner’s work ethic at a very young age, Sonny’s parents raised her to be a hard-working entrepreneur.
With more than 30 years in tourism, food & beverage, and real estate business, Sonny attained a strong understanding of how local and state governments affect the various needs in our communities. She supports organizations that promote state and local tourism, such as Visit Florida and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, and is widely recognized as a leader in the St. Pete community.
About a decade ago, Sonny became the owner of the Historic John’s Pass Alligator & Wildlife Discovery Center in Pinellas County. The Discovery Center focuses on wildlife preservation, animal rescue, and education and attracts thousands of visitors annually.
In just 10 years, she grew the center from 700 to 8,000 square feet, rescued nearly 1,000 animals, and opened three partnering companies to help animals find homes and stability.
Through her Wildlife Education Center, Sonny and her team teach the public about the needs of various animal species and whether or not they are good household pets. By educating the public, her team helps reduce the number of neglected animals.
Her next adventure is a development called Sunny Green Acres, a new site that provides sanctuary for rescued farm animals. The farm currently has goats, chickens, donkeys, and pigs and will continue expanding. The goal is to create a garden, catch and release fishing pond, new habitat for our tortoise, a butterfly house, venue space, and more.
Learn more about Sonny and Alligator & Wildlife Discovery Center here.