A young and talented artist named Olivia Bouler, 11, lives in Islip, N.Y. — more than 1,000 miles away from the disastrous oil spill currently damaging the Gulf. The little girl has relatives who live in the Gulf Coast region and has visited the area several times. According to her mother, Olivia's first thoughts when she heard of the spill were of the birds.  

Olivia is a bird lover and she knew how devastating this oil spill would be to the bird's habitat. Even though she was miles away, she wanted to help.

Olivia wrote to the National Audubon Society, saying she would like to help by selling her drawings and giving the wildlife conservation group any money she raised. She signed the letter, “Olivia Bouler, 11 years old and willing to help.”

I can only imagine Olivia's reaction when she heard back from the National Audubon and learned that they wanted to create a fundraising program whereby Olivia sends one of her original paintings to anyone who donates to any of several organizations helping wildlife in the Gulf. Thus was born Olivia’s “Save the Gulf” campaign.

The project really took off when AOL got on board, giving Olivia her own artist’s gallery on its site and donating $25,000 to Audubon in her name. Last time I checked, Olivia's  “Save the Gulf: Olivia’s Bird Illustrations” page on Facebook had more than 11,000 fans.

Olivia creates her artwork with heavy stock paper, Ebony pencil and watercolors. She has sent out about 150 original illustrations so far and will continue creating originals until she reaches 500. After that point, contributors will receive limited-edition prints.

5th-grader raises thousands for the Gulf
A bird-loving 11-year-old girl from Islip, N.Y., starts a crusade to save wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico.