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Literacy and Service Recognition Award 2012

Olivia's Birds: Saving the Gulf

Olivia describes her project in her own words below. You can also visit her website and learn more about her book online.


My project is called Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf. 

In it, I sent out 500 original drawings of birds to people who donated to several environmental organizations, especially the Audubon Society, who were helping to clean up the Gulf of Mexico.  I was devastated when I first heard about the oil spill and knew I had to do something.  I have always loved birds and the work of John James Audubon.  His paintings showed the beauty of birds, which is why I decided to share paintings, hoping to show people that birds are worth saving.  I was also inspired by the work of Rachel Carson, who proved that one person can truly make a difference.  Without her book Silent Spring, DDT use would have continued and the bald eagle would surely be extinct.

People would send my mom their donation receipt and I would send them an original drawing.  When the 500 were already accounted for, AOL helped send out prints of my work.  Since then, I’ve written and illustrated a bird guide for children, which also raises money for the Audubon Society.  I have been speaking to kids around the world about saving the planet and sharing my artwork with others. The goal of my project is to raise money to help preserve animal habitat and to educate children about the importance of our environment. I have raised $200,000 for Gulf recovery efforts.  Money I raised was used to establish a volunteer center for people who were there to clean the birds in Moss Point, MS.  I have reached thousands of children in person, but many more thanks to the PSA I did with Disney’s Friends for Change.  This experience has made me proud about setting a goal and working hard to meet it.  I’ve been able to meet lots of great people who are working towards saving the environment, so I’m inspired to keep working on becoming an ornithologist.  I am going to spend the rest of my life trying to help birds.  Right now I’m gearing up for a one person traveling exhibition of my artwork, which will open in March at the Ned Smith Center in Pennsylvania.  I am going to more education programs through my book. I will continue to make birding videos and hopefully illustrate and write my next book about birds around the world.

I’ve been in many newspapers, magazines, and televisions shows around the world discussing ways that we can save the environment, appreciate birds, and donate our talents to good causes.  I’ve presented at several schools and at two TEDX conferences.  I was on the White House Champion of Change panel.  I spoke at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles and a classroom of third graders in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.  Thanks to a grant from Disney, I was able to give the students copies of my book.

I have received fan letters from all over, including one from former President Bill Clinton.  I met President and Mrs. Obama in December.

Supporting Materials:
• At Facebook, look for oliviasbirds
• At Twitter, look for BirdgirlLiv
Overview of Project: http://youtu.be/jX2QqFDlk-g
Recent Speech at UN: http://youtu.be/SVYDxbjQknM
Costa Rica Birding: http://youtu.be/AyspA24z0XU





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Date Modified: June 8, 2013 - Feedback

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