I’m originally from Alabama, and my home state’s gorgeous Gulf coast is precious to me. Even now that I live a short distance from the dramatically beautiful beaches of Malibu, I still prefer the soft dunes and clear, warm water of the Gulf. (No offense, Malibu, but those sugar-white sands stole my heart years ago.)
A few years back, a close friend of mine who’s also an accomplished artist relocated to the Gulf coast. The move revitalized her painting. In fact, she was finally doing the kind of work she’d always wanted to do. “And I really think it’s the Gulf,” she told me. “There’s an energy that comes off the water that I can’t explain.” Those words haunt me as I look at pictures of the deadly energy that’s coming off the water now.
The famous wildlife and culture that draw visitors from all over the world are in serious jeopardy. However, some amazing organizations are already on the scene making a difference. If you want to donate or volunteer for these efforts, here are some options:
- The National Audubon Society “Globally significant Important Bird Areas – essential to survival of already-imperiled species – are at risk from Louisiana to Florida’s Gulf Coast. The danger is real for all kinds of birds… The effects of this tragedy will be serious and long-lasting. But Audubon will be there to make a difference now and for the long haul.” Donate or Volunteer
- Ducks Unlimited “Ducks Unlimited conserves, restores and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl. The (Gulf coast) region is one of DU’s top five international conservation priorities. What’s important are not only the coastal wetlands, but the marshy lands surrounding them.” Donate
- The Nature Conservancy “In the Mississippi River delta – over many thousands of years – the river has built 4 million acres of some of the most biologically rich wetlands on Earth… Your gift will be put to use by the Conservancy and its marine scientists and staff knowledgeable about the Gulf and about oil spill impacts to help restore this critical ecosystem.” Donate
- The Bay Area Food Bank As as result of the BP Oil Spill, the Gulf coast’s vital tourism and fishing industries face devastation. “The Bay Area Food Bank… will provide nutritious food to meet the challenge of feeding people who are hungry as a result… Serving the Central Gulf Coast- Alabama, Florida, Mississippi.” Donate
To Volunteer in the Gulf Coast Area
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Volunteer Louisiana
- Volunteer Mississippi
- Serve Alabama
- Volunteer Florida
To Report Injured/Oiled Wildlife in the Gulf Coast Area Call Toll-Free 1-866-557-1401
Responding to all the ramifications of the BP Oil Spill will require massive energy and dedication. If you are involved with or know of other specific donation, volunteer, or prayer opportunities, please feel free to add them in the comments.
Photo by Tricia Morton McLemore.
Lucie Amberg is also a contributor to Powder Room Graffiti.