Olivia Bouler loves birds so much that she cried when she saw some of the terrible images emerging in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.But the 11-year-old is a budding artist with special talent and a deep interest in ornithology, and she became inspired to do whatever she could to help the critters whose lives are being jeopardized by the environmental disaster.
She wrote to the National Audubon Society with the message: "I am a decent drawer, and I was wondering if I could sell some bird paintings and give the proceeds to your [organization]. Accompanying the letter was a drawing of a northern cardinal.
That marked the beginning of a campaign that has raised more than $135,000 for the Gulf region's wildlife, and transformed the fifth-grader from Islip, New York, into a celebrity.
She has partnered with AOL, where she has her own artists page, to give her project more visibility. She has appeared on the "Today" show, and tonight she'll draw a bird on national TV as part of a CNN telethon hosted by Larry King.
Her Facebook page has provided yet another forum on which Olivia can share her message and sell her drawings.
"It really is flabbergasting, how much money we've raised, and how many birds we're going to save with that money," Olivia told PeoplePets.com.
It's more than flabbergasting. It's uplifting and inspirational. The world could use more people like Olivia.
-- Pete Thomas