This post was written as part of my Dawn Saves Wildlife Ambassadorship. All opinions are my own.
An old man was walking along the beach and saw in the distance a young boy who appeared to be dancing and gyrating at the ocean’s edge. As the man got closer, he realized that the boy was not dancing at all. The tide had gone out, beaching thousands and thousands of starfish. The boy was throwing starfish one after the other back into the ocean so that they might survive. “Son, you can’t possibly throw all of those starfish back. How can what you are doing possibly matter,” the old man asked. As the boy threw yet another starfish back into the safety of the ocean, he replied, “it mattered to that one.”
2016 marks forty-five years since two Standard Oil tankers collided near the Golden Gate Bridge spilling at least 800,000 gallons of crude oil. Of course that was before my time (I’m not that old), but like every American animal lover, I know all about that terrible day and the devastating effect it had on the local wildlife. Nearly 7,000 birds were effected. Volunteers collected nearly 4,300 of them, mainly Western Grebes and Surf Scoters, and brought them to makeshift rehabilitation centers. Of those only 300 birds were successfully rehabilitated and released due to the lack of established rehabilitation practices for oiled birds. Yes, they weren’t all able to be saved, but just as in the starfish in the story, each of those birds mattered.
I love birds. I go kayaking at a local park in the Bay on the Atlantic here in Miami, and I love seeing the wildlife. I can’t imagine what it would be like to witness such devastation on our local bird population. Sometimes my fellow Miami photographers and I spend our lunch breaks at this park just to photograph the birds – we love them that much.
Everyone knows that Dawn dish soap is safe to use during oil spill clean ups – it’s always all over television. I actually use Dawn on the kittens we foster for the Humane Society of Greater Miami because it is one of the safest things to use on animals. We see the ducks being cleaned with Dawn on TV – we all know that Dawn helps Save Wildlife. When I was asked to partner with the brand in 2014 as a Dawn Saves Wildlife Ambassador, I wasn’t just thrilled – I WAS HONORED.
Following that horrific spill, Dawn’s wildlife partner, International Bird Rescue (Bird Rescue) was officially hatched in April of 1971 at Berkeley’s Aquatic Park. Since then, it has led oiled bird rescue efforts in over 220 oil spills in more than a dozen countries!
“From an environmental tragedy 45 years ago, Bird Rescue was born to deliver on the promise of mitigating the human impact on seabirds and other aquatic species through response, rehabilitation, and research,” said JD Bergeron, Executive Director, International Bird Rescue. “Our work these past four decades would not have been achieved without the support of our volunteers, the San Pedro community and Dawn.”
As a society, we have become increasingly dependent on petroleum products. Which means that all of us have a little bit of responsibility for that impact. When oil is spilled, endangering wildlife and the environment that we share, we share the responsibility in correcting the damage. International Bird Rescue’s job is to capture, clean, and rehabilitate oiled aquatic birds and other animals so they can be released back into the wild.
DAWN HELPS SAVE WILDLIFE
Independent studies have proven Dawn Dish Soap to be the most effective dishwashing detergent for cleaning oiled animals, heralded because it removes tough grease while being gentle on animals’ delicate skin and feathers. As such, Dawn is the only dishwashing brand trusted by wildlife rescue experts for decades. Since 2006, Dawn has donated more than 100,000 bottles of dishwashing liquid and financial support to its wildlife partners, International Bird Rescue and The Marine Mammal Center. These donations have helped these organizations clean more than 75,000 marine animals in the United States.
Keep an eye out this year while I share more about my partnership with Dawn and all of the good that they do! You can also read this previous post about the Marine Mammal Center, where I visited in 2014.