Birder's Guide

MAY 2014

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 13 of 51

12 Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community | May 2014 Olivia Bouler: Bird Art for Conservation –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– When the Deepwater Horizon rig ex- ploded off the Gulf Coast in 2010, re- sulting in the biggest accidental marine oil spill in history, an 11-year-old girl from New York heard the news and grew very concerned. Olivia Bouler had spent several family vacations on the Gulf, and knew that the oil would be disas- trous for birds. She sent a letter to the Audubon Society, signed "11 years old and willing to help," offering to paint a bird picture for anyone who contributed to the recovery effort. Bouler's drawings, accurate and cheerful, depict wild birds of various species, sketched with sure strokes and shaded in true-to-life colors. Bouler had little idea what an out- pouring of support her letter would inspire. During the summer of 2010, she ended up creating 500 original bird drawings and sent out several thousand limited-edition prints of her artwork to satisfy her promise to those who joined her initiative. Her efforts raised more than $200,000 to help birds impacted by the Gulf oil spill, including a $25,000 artist's grant from AOL, and Bouler was soon featured on CNN, MSNBC, CBS News, and other major media. During an appearance on The Today Show, she told the hosts, "I want to become an or- nithologist and go to Cornell." She even met President Obama. In 2011, many of Bouler's drawings were published in a colorful picture book, "Olivia's Birds: Saving the Gulf," which, in her own words, tells the story of her campaign while describing some common and endangered bird species. Since the book was released, she has given talks all over the U.S. to further raise awareness of bird conservation, and is now (at age 14) working on a new children's board game about migratory birds. You can learn more about her at . Left: Olivia Bouler's cheerful and true- to-life bird paintings have made a difference for the Gulf Coast oil spill recovery. Photo © Nadine Bouler Right: Young bird artist/activist Olivia Bouler takes part in an eco-festival in Wyoming organized by the Teton Raptor Center. Photo © James Bouler Conservation Milestones are published in the Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community to recognize efforts toward building a better future for birds and for birders. If you have a con- servation milestone to share, or know someone who deserves to be lauded for conservation and community activities, please contact Conservation Milestones Editor Noah Strycker . We are especially enthusiastic about stories that include photos and contact information or other resources that inspire others to make their own contributions. Conservation Milestones Here is a green twist on the familiar "listing" milestones that regularly appear in Birding (and, before that, in Winging It ). Instead of reporting the numbers of birds people have seen, this feature highlights individual mile- stones in bird conservation—shining the spotlight on people who go out of their way to help birds, and who encourage others to do the same. In efforts large and small, from backyard and school-ground oases to bird art and unique feld trips, the people cel- ebrated on these pages are producing all kinds of positive change for birds across North America. Read on, and let these community heroes inspire you! 2-Conservation Milestones.indd 12 5/22/14 7:33 PM

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