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The BP Disaster: One Year Later: Audubon Updates

One year ago, the tragic Deepwater Horizon blowout triggered a summer-long nightmare in the Gulf of Mexico. None of us will forget our heartbreak as we viewed photos of oiled birds, turtles, and other wildlife—and the frustration we felt each day for the three months it took BP to cap the well. But in the midst of despair, our volunteers sounded a firm, confident note of hope. Some 34,000 responded to our appeal—and several hundred joined our active ranks in the Gulf. Those whose homes were too far away for direct action helped in many other ways, from contributing funds and inspiring others to do so, to creating healthy and inviting backyard habitat for birds en route to and from the Gulf during migration, to conserving energy. Thank you!

Today, April 20, is not just a time to look back. It is a time to look forward—and to focus on the challenges ahead of us. While the well is capped, the impacts of the spill are far from over. What we’ve learned from other spills, like the Exxon Valdez in Alaska, is that the birds that are recovered and officially reported dead are only a small fraction of those that actually died. And the continued presence of oil and its by-products, in habitat and in the food chain, may impact food supply and reproductive health for many more years. Factor in the many other longstanding environmental threats confronting the Gulf region, and it’s clear that its wildlife and its communities still need your help. Visit the Audubon website to find out what you can do, or get directly involved by downloading the Hope for the Gulf, kit.

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Audubon Update

Sorry, this is direct copy from my email box – I’m in an editor’s retreat session, but wanted to get this posted!
Even if this isn’t headline news everyday anymore, keep the BP Gush in your mind so something like this doesn’t happen again on our coastlines

Audubon continues to be inspired by all those whose passion — and compassion — for birds and wildlife is making our Gulf recovery work possible. This week, we’d like to acknowledge a few of them.

First, we are so grateful for our volunteers — who now number over 30,000. Some have already had a chance to get directly involved; others are waiting patiently (and we know it is hard!) But the truth is that each of you is playing a critical role in the response effort — because we can count on you, we know that we can be ready for whatever turn this catastrophe takes. Thank you!

Second, many exceptional individuals, reflecting many different worlds, have stepped forward to become ambassadors for Audubon, and for the birds and wildlife it is our mission to protect. You have already met 11-year old artist Olivia Bouler who has now helped us raise over $150,000. Many others — from American Idol winner Jordin Sparks (more about that in our next update!) to the Atlanta Symphony to Major League Baseball wives — are also helping Audubon to make a difference in the Gulf.

Citizen Scientists Playing a Key Role
Rescued pelican released in GeorgiaLast week we highlighted the risk facing early fall migrants as they arrive in the gulf from their northern breeding grounds. Because accurately assessing the populations and habitat conditions for these birds is a critical step to protecting them, Audubon is launching special training sessions designed to introduce novice birders and volunteers in the Gulf to the challenges of bird observation, identification and monitoring.

Birders have also been asked to watch for Brown Pelicans that were recently rehabilitated and released in Georgia. One group (78) has RED color bands on the right leg with 3 digital alpha numeric codes in white. Another group (72) has ORANGE color bands on the right leg. If you see any of these birds, please report them. Tracking released birds is essential to assessing rescue efforts.

Learn more about the Brown Pelican
The state bird of Louisiana, the Brown Pelican, had just begun its breeding season when the Deepwater Horizon explosion sent oil spewing into the Gulf. Since then, photos of oiled adults and chicks have brought the spill home across the country and around the globe. Even more worrisome from a conservation perspective, Brown Pelicans were removed from the U.S. endangered species list only late last year. This year’s disruption of their breeding cycle could have serious and long lasting effects. Learn more.

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