June 4th, 2010
02:40 PM ET

How to help Gulf oil disaster, even if you can't make it there

Workers clean an oiled pelican recovered from a barrier island off the Louisiana coast.

Can’t go down to the Gulf Coast to help out with oil spill cleanup? Here are some ways you can be an armchair volunteer following the worst oil disaster in U.S. history.

Adopt a pelican
It is heart-wrenching to watch birds drenched with oil. The International Bird Rescue Research Center, which picks up oiled birds, cleans and rehabilitates them, is asking for support for its 23-member team of bird-rescue experts.

The organization allows individuals to donate or adopt a bird. Adopting a pelican, for example, costs $200, which will go to the cost of raising and eventually releasing the bird.

The organization’s team is working with the Tri-State Bird Rescue, setting up rehabilitation centers in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. Birds that are cleaned – it takes almost an hour to clean a single oiled pelican – and rehabilitated are then released in oil-free areas chosen by federal and state trustee agency personnel and the International Bird Rescue Research Center. The Tri-State Bird Rescue is also taking donations and adoptions.

Tweet, blog, update
The National Wildlife Federation is asking for support from those who aren’t able to volunteer or donate by spreading their cause via social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

For example, they are asking Twitter users to tweet and retweet messages with the #NWF tag. There is a Facebook fan page, and users can support the Wildlife Federation by setting up a “birthday cause.” Instead of getting presents from friends, you can direct them to donate to the organization of choice.

The organization also has created web banners that blog users can embed on their sites that will take readers to the wildlife federation website, which urges readers to volunteer or donate.

Each $10 donation will go toward dispatching teams to monitor the coast for wildlife hurt by the spill, restoring nesting grounds, public education and policy work.

Donate to help fishermen and the Louisiana seafood industry
Protectourcoastline.org is asking for donations to help families and businesses in the Gulf most affected by the disaster. With more than 30 percent of the waters closed to fishing, the site claims that a good portion of the fishing industry will be affected.

All donations will go to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, in partnership with the Louisiana Seafood Board, and the America’s WETLAND Foundation, which heads the “Campaign to Save Coastal Louisiana” project.

Write a letter
Donations aside, the Audubon Action Center is asking for people to write to their senators and members of Congress to support President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget, which includes $35.6 million for larger coastal restoration projects. The site has a suggested letter that can be edited and sent out.

Part of it states: “We have an opportunity to create jobs, work to mitigate the impacts of this tragic oil spill, and again rebuild the critical coastal marshlands that nurture a significant Gulf of Mexico fishing industry, and buffer the Louisiana coast and its communities from storms and other threats.”

Leave a word of condolence
While all are focused on containment and cleanup efforts, there were lives lost in this disaster. Eleven workers died in the explosion of the Deep Water Horizon on April 20. Transocean has a condolence page on its website for people to leave memories and photos to remember those who died.

Check out other ways to help with the Gulf oil disaster and explore more ways to Impact Your World

soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    You are so right Sydney Australia. It is painfull to see the oil in our gulf and our shores, but how can you get it out of our marsh where so mamy aminals have made their home and people that make their living there. In 1-2010 I was in the swamps taking pictures of the wildlife and I can't believe our Federal Goverment will not listen to our Governor. I think it would be alot easier to clean off the sand than the marsh.

    June 5, 2010 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. LINDA

    I am from Florida and just returned from Sanibel Island where small tar ballls are being seen in the water, it broke my heart . I saw many beautiful birds and dolphins in the waters there, seeing the oil covered birds, knowing dolphins and so much life is dying and will continue to die really makes me angry.....how is it we can put a man on the moon, send a probe to mars, visit saturn, but cannot fix this.....The Federal Gov't is dragging it's feet here and BP is trying it's best to not let the general pubic see photos of dead animals, We need to donate to those that clean these animals up, They are saviors who do this tirelesly getting only a few hours of sleep a night. This is not a religious venue, stop with the arguing, this is a site to find solutions and to help organizations that are doing cleanup efforts.

    June 5, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • pattie bee

      my poor sanibel..... visited there in the late 60's, the 70's and the 80's. glad i got to see it then. i agree linda. thanks for the update. havent read a THING about tar balls at sanibel until you......figures. its all about the buck – getting people there. wah. i am so sad and have been since this thing happened – foreseeing this right away, unlike the president.

      June 5, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • pattie bee

      dont worry, linda.... obama will eventually stop spending money on space, healthcare, and war in other countries.....bringing home our troops to take care of this horrible problem. he is going to HAVE to. this is it, folks. the beginning of the end. two-thousand-and-twelve is looming and those people who laughed and scoffed about that, should rethink that now. wonder why there IS oil in the earth to begin with? what happens to earth when that supply dwindles to a trickle? something big, i fear. enjoy today folks, you are gonna HATE tomorrow.

      June 5, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jon

    argh its so depressing seeing dead and dying oil soaked animals.. gah dont know what to say

    June 5, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  4. Judy

    I'm in PA and have visited many of the beaches that are affected by this oil. Folks, this is huge and pretty soon this oil will find its way into our water supply – our eastern coastline will be covered in oil if this mess isn't cleaned up soon. Who is organizing something "BIG" that will help fund the cleanup (or should I say STOP THE LEAK)? Let's see if we can band together and bring some hope into the situation. We need an organizer and quite frankly, I have no idea of how to put something like this together. Anybody got suggestions?

    June 5, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • pattie bee

      no. let's have a lunch date with paul mccartney instead....

      June 5, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bronx Mom

    I understand that hair and hay are natural oil absorbers. They should be collected, placed in nylon booms, floated to absorb the oil, then they can be burned in incinerators to turn turbines or generate heat. We can start a movement across the country to collect hay from farms and hair from the public to create booms to soak up the oil. This has to be done before the marshs and wildlife are lost forever. [I'm not a nut. I have a graduate degree in Urban Planning.] Time is wasting!

    June 5, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pattie bee

    can someone come up with a thing-a-ma-jig that makes a high pitched sound that we cannot hear but that fish and birds alike HATE? then keep those sounds coming on top of the water and underneath, thereby sending the wildlife packing for other parts of the globe?

    sooner or later though, that other part of the globe gets it, too......

    bp = out of business pretty damn soon.

    June 5, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pattie bee

    whatcha think obama is doing today, kiddies?

    June 5, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cruz rivera jr

    i want to volunteer but dont no how to. wish i lived there for i could help with my two hands. and ever hand we can get will make a difference .may god heal all this mess amen

    June 5, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Deave

    I'm wondering why there was not a plan submitted by BP that said what it would do if such a disaster happened, before drilling ever began when the permit (I guess it's called a permit) was applied for. All projects that impact the environment require such a plan, at least in my state. That aside, everyone wants to bash the Obama administration, but let's remember who was in office when the industry was deregulated (and apparently so much so that this disaster happened), uh, Bush! And does anyone remember who is connected to Haliburton - our past Vice President, Dick Cheney. I'm just saying.....................................

    June 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lori

    I love the idea of helping the pelicans–and all of the other animals hurt by this oil spill. They need to be helped, desperately, but BP should pay for it! The public should not have to donate anything in order for the birds to be saved. Obama should fully fund these rescue organizations and then send BP the bill.

    June 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Edward Scroggins

    Why don't the workers use screens to filter out the tar balls on the beaches. Fabricate a Screen Shovel to filter out the tar balls. Use of a cart with a screen on top to filter sand. Fat wheels on the cart to move it better. The removable screen tray and be dumped into another hazard./waste cart on wheels. This would make it a lot better for the good workers and much faster.

    June 5, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Heidimarie Lynn Gosselin

    In the pursuit of happiness, I want to be in love. The person who I want to be in LOVE with is Robert Pattinson. If I'm in love, everyones life will be better. I'm trying to get a job, but no one will hire me because of who and what i am. I cant volunteer because i owe money. " give to ceaser what is ceaser's." I'm almost out of $. Must i spell it out for you. i've been helping my mom at home like its any of your business. i'm the spokesperson for GOD. I'm the closest you can get to actually talking to him. My career path is singing, but if I HAVE to do something distracting 1st, fine.

    June 6, 2010 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
    • rc


      June 8, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Heidimarie Lynn Gosselin

    Even though, I am frustrated, I'm still grateful for all the people who believe in God and Jesus Christ. You didn't have to believe in me, but it would have took less time to fix problems if you did. Moving on, I'm here and I'm not going anywhere. The choice is yours. Either you're with me to fight for the truth, or your against me. I know GOD would approve. 😉

    June 6, 2010 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. Sushan

    We are very sad and frustrated with the devastation that this oil spill has caused the wildlife. Our son had his 9th birthday celebration yesterday and did a fundraising to help save these animals affected. He requested his friends bring donations instead of toys. He was able to raise $200, a small portion, from it. I think kids have more maturity to be caring and responsible citizens than some adults who bring religion and other senstive topics that don't even relate to the issues at hand. I am appalled.

    June 6, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. big al

    where are the other countrys we step in and help wgere are they for us even if they offers but i haven heard anththing yet we help others but they keep hush hush when we could use help even a lot of the actors are not comming forward or having a concert for the people in the gulf loosing thier buisnesses

    June 6, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Sally in Oregon

      actually Big Al, the UEA oil companies offered help weeks ago only to have their offers ignored by BP. UEA oil companies have entire contingents in place to focus purely on preventive and restorative measures in the event of catastrophic spills.
      I would assume the problem is that international experts have offered help directly to BP but as is their practice, BP wants control...

      June 7, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
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