Budding ornithologist and artist, Olivia Bouler has single-handedly raised $200,000 for the Gulf Coast oil spill recovery. After the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in April 2010, killing 11 people and spilling 5,000 barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico every day, the little girl from Islip, New York, desperately wanted to help—and she had an idea!
She wrote to the Audubon Society, a group working to save the animals in the area, and offered to draw photos for them. She wrote, “11 years old and willing to help.”
Needless to say, the idea took flight, and Olivia created over 500 paintings. When people donated to the Audubon society to help clean up the area, they received a drawing of one of the Gulf Coast birds that little Olivia created. Many of Olivia’s paintings are featured in a picture book, titled Olivia’s Birds, that recaps her valiant campaign to save the birds affected by the spill. Olivia’s Birds is written in her own words and is printed on FSC eco-friendly paper. The book features facts on endangered birds and full-color photos celebrating Olivia’s campaign.
All told, Olivia raised more than $200,000. And to think, it all started with the seemingly simple idea, as Olivia put it: “I want to help. I can draw. And I want to really make a difference to help out those birds.”
Last summer, Olivia was honored by Congressman Steve Israel as a Hometown Hero. She was also chosen as the ASPCA’s 2010 Kid of the Year.
When you have a child, all you can hope for in this world is that they will be smart, passionate, and loving individuals who strive to do their very best. Olivia’s parents must be so incredibly proud of her! Steve Hartman, from the CBS Evening News perhaps said it best: “A lot of artists paint from the heart. This one, though, paints from a broken one.”
Little Olivia has taught us all a very important lesson. When you truly care about something and you open your heart up to the possibilities, it turns out that one small person, out of the billions, can make a difference after all.