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Yesterday I got my first glimpse into the wildlife recovery effort here in Louisiana -- set up at Fort Jackson just off Highway 23. This is just one of the many stations around the Gulf Coast that takes in rescued birds (Pelicans, terns, spoonbills, gulls, etc.), cleans the oil from their delicate feathers, provides a brief rehabilitation and then releases them into protected (and clean) wetlands.
They routinely give the media access to see the operation, and I was lucky enough to be included in the latest group. And on my way in, I met Jean-Michel Cousteau and his crew from Ocean Futures Society. Talk about timing!
The folks at this station were very friendly... and not just "PR-friendly." They were genuine people like you and me, from all over the country (Tennessee, Louisiana, Wisconsin...), here to help protect this fragile ecosystem we call The Gulf.
My timing was a little off, though, as most of the rescued and cleaned birds had recently been shipped out. But I did get a feel for the cleanup effort and got to meet some very interesting (and proud) pelicans waiting to go back home.
Unfortunately, for these birds, home doesn't exist anymore. But, Mother Nature has built quite a bit of resilience into her creatures and new wetlands are being created and set aside specifically for their recovery, so I'm certain these birds will thrive wherever they go.
For statistical details and more information about the rescue efforts, please visit http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/doctype/2931/55963
If you would like to help The Vanishing America Project's efforts in the Gulf, please visit www.donatevanam.blogspot.com