11-Year-Old Raises $70K to Help Oil Spill Birds

Like many of us, 11-year-old Olivia Bouler was devastated by the damage caused by the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  A frequent visitor to the area, she “sobbed uncontrollably” when she heard of how wildlife was struggling to survive in all that oil.

Moved to act, she grabbed her markers and paper, drew a picture of a cardinal and sent it along with a letter to the National Audubon Society
asking how she could help.  Impressed with her giving spirit and her beautiful artwork, they suggested she draw more birds and offer them in exchange for donations to the Society.

Since mid-May, she’s been doing just that.  By drawing and painting pictures until her hands hurt, she’s raised more than $70,000 to go toward the expenses involved in locating and cleaning birds, transferring them to a safer environment in Florida and paying for food and lodging for volunteers.

$25,000 of that money came from AOL, who featured Olivia’s story and artwork on its homepage.  That got her more attention from the media and more requests for drawings.

In fact, Olivia has been so busy drawing pelicans, herons and blue jays that’s she neglected her music lessons and social life.  Her mom, Nadine Bouler, had to reign her in a bit and limit her to 500 drawings, which have already been spoken for.

But that doesn’t mean she’ll abandon her efforts to help the birds that are suffering through this tragedy.  She continues to offer prints of her original drawings via her Facebook page, which already has nearly 20,000 fans.  Donations can be made through Olivia’s artist page at AOL.

I can only imagine how pleased and proud Olivia’s parents must be.  And in a world where bad news is followed by more bad news, kids like Olivia give me hope that everything is going to be alright.

Image: Olivia Bouler

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