“I’m a big animal lover. My family and I do dog rescues a couple of times a year,” says Rob Lowe, adding that as a surfer, he’s keenly aware of the importance of clean oceans and marine life conservation. For these reasons, he was eager to participate in and raise awareness for Dawn dishwashing liquid’s “The Big Picture” project and narrate its Webisode series.

“Lowe’s passion for wildlife began at a young age with a generous act,” says Michelle Lohman, communications manager for Dawn at Procter & Gamble. “At 15, he won ‘The $10,000 Pyramid’ game show, then donated all of his winnings to a local animal rescue organization. Throughout the years, he has seen first-hand how human interaction not only affects beach conditions, but also negatively impact animals’ wellbeing. He has teamed up with Dawn Saves Wildlife to tell the story that connects us all, from the selfless volunteers at the frontlines of the coastlines to the everyday wildlife champions helping with little changes in their own communities.”

The idea behind the project dates back four decades, says Lohman. “International Bird Rescue has been using Dawn since 1971, when founder Alice Berkner discovered that the product’s powerful degreasing action was also gentle enough to be used on the delicate feathers of oiled birds. Dawn has been a trusted brand of rescue and rehabilitation organizations ever since. The Dawn product team made contact with International Bird Rescue in 1988, shortly before the Exxon Valdez spill, to donate cases of Dawn and begin discussions on how we could work together.”

Lohman adds that IBR “operates two year-round aquatic bird rescue centers in California, which care for more than 5,000 birds every year, and has led oiled wildlife rescue efforts in over 200 oil spills in more than a dozen countries. Donations from Dawn’s Everyday Wildlife Champions support International Bird Rescue (IBR) programming, which consists of the operation of wildlife rehabilitation centers, research to develop better treatments for aquatic birds, a vast volunteer network, education programs, and training for oil spill response.”

Dawn has also partnered with The Marine Mammal Center (MMC), which, according to Lohman, “has rescued more than 17,000 sick, injured or abandoned seals, sea lions and other marine mammals, along 600 miles of northern and central California coast since 1975. Headquartered in Sausalito, Calif., the nonprofit hospital rehabilitates these marine mammals for return to the ocean, studies and documents marine mammal health, and perfects clinical and diagnostic medical techniques. Through engaging on-site exhibits and school-aged and adult education programs, the Center is able to inform the public about the shared connections between humans, marine mammals and the oceans.”

This year, Dawn expanded its commitment to the IBR and MMC with a $1 million pledge and launched the documentary “The Big Picture,” featuring four episodes currently and four more to come. “The remaining episodes will give viewers a deeper look into the rescue organizations, as well as continuing to give viewers a look at some of the beloved rescue animals,” says Lohman. These are viewable at DawnSavesWildlife.com, and Dawn’s YouTube page.

“The little things we all do can make a big difference,” says Lohman, encouraging consumers to follow the campaign through social media at Twitter.com/DawnDish and Facebook.com/DawnSavesWildlife and “become part of the bigger picture by sending thank you cards to local rescue volunteers who are on the frontlines every day.”

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