Audubon Florida News

Topic: Gulf Oil Spill,Oil Drilling,Online Advocacy

Let the Voters Decide: Call Your Florida Legislator Today

posted on July 20, 2010 in Gulf Oil Spill,Oil Drilling,Online Advocacy

The Florida Legislature begins a special session at noon today  to consider putting a constitutional amendment to ban oil drilling in state waters on the November ballot. Public support for such a measure is building and it is time to call on your state senators and representatives to support permanent protection for Florida’s beaches.

Read about the growing public support for a ban on oil drilling in state waters Here.

Tell your representatives to Let the People Decide: Amend Florida’s Constitution to Permanently Ban Drilling in Florida’s Waters.

Some legislators argue Florida already has a ban in general law, but this rule can be easily be overturned with legislation. For the last two years, in fact,  a coalition of advocates for Florida’s coastal environment and economy have only narrowly staved off the attempts by the oil industry and certain legislators to open Florida’s nearshore waters to oil drilling.

The BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster is a clear example of why we need a permanent ban on oil drilling in Florida’s jurisdictional waters. Click Here to Write Your Legislator Today. Click Here to Find Your State Legislator and Call  Him or Her to Let the Voters Decide.

We can win this battle so our children don’t have to.

Don’t Miss Gifts for the Gulf at a Shopping Mall Near You

posted on July 19, 2010 in Gulf Oil Spill,Oil Drilling

Florida Audubon and 15 of its leading Audubon chapters in Florida will bring the beach and birds threatened by the Gulf Oil Disaster to 15 Simon Shopping Malls in the state from 12, noon, to 5 p.m. , Saturday and Sunday, July 24 and 25.  CBS Neighbors 4 Neighbors has also joined the collaboration to raise awareness about wildlife affected by the spill and will host a phonebank during the CBS4 News in Miami from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 23, in Miami.

Click here to find the mall nearest you.

Read about the partnership here.

Florida Audubon is accepting contributions for Gifts for the Gulf from people who want to help wildlife threatened by the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  Funds are placed in an account used just for oil spill response. To donate, click here.

To sign up for our Gulf Spill Response volunteer network, click here.

Bring Your Passion to Tallahassee Tuesday

posted on July 17, 2010 in Gulf Oil Spill,Oil Drilling,Online Advocacy

We were all thrilled with the news reports that the BP Deepwater Horizon well appears to be capped. Tar balls and sheen are washing up on Florida beaches, however, and the Gulf is still awash in oil. We need to focus on long-term clean up and a permanent ban on drilling in Florida’s state waters.

Governor Charlie Crist has called a special session of the Legislature to craft a permanent ban on oil drilling in state waters and proposed amending Florida’s constitution to make our state jurisdictional waters between three and 10 miles off limits to oil production.

Conservation groups are organizing a Hands Across the Capitol event at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in Tallahassee.  Hands Across the Capitol is an extension of Hands Across the Sand. Join us in Tallahassee and then meet with your legislators to urge them to give the people of Florida the power to protect our beaches, ecology and economy.

Some legislators argue Florida already has a ban in general law. Unfortunately, these rules can easily be overturned with legislation.  In fact, for the last two years, a coalition of advocates for Florida’s coastal environment and economy have only narrowly staved off the attempts of the oil industry and certain legislators who would open Florida’s nearshore waters to oil drilling.

Now with the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, the time has come to permanently ban oil drilling in Florida’s jurisdictional waters.  And you can help make our beaches safer.

Come to Tallahassee Tuesday and SEND your letter today calling on your Florida representative and senator to put a permanent drilling ban on the ballot.  Let’s make sure a Gulf oil disaster never happens again in Florida by permanently banning oil drilling in our state waters. We can win this fight so our children don’t have to.

If you cannot make it to Tallahassee you can still contact your legislator and urge them to vote to ban oil drilling.

Check out these resources if you can attend Hands Across the Capitol.

Find your state legislators’ info so you can schedule an appointment.

Want to register? Looking for a ride share? RSVP here so we can get you information on lobby training schedules and details for the big day.

Coming up early? Places to stay in Tallahassee.

Downtown Tallahassee parking map.

Capitol complex layout.

Take Action to Ban Oil Drilling in Florida’s Waters

posted on July 13, 2010 in Gulf Oil Spill,Oil Drilling,Online Advocacy

Let the People Decide. Tell your Legislators to put the Oil Drilling Ban on the State Ballot

Governor Charlie Crist – responding to the horrors of the BP Gulf Oil Spill – has convened a special session of the Florida Legislature on July 20.

Your legislators need to hear from you today:  Make the ban on oil drilling in Florida’s coastal waters permanent.

The oil on Florida’s beaches is a stark example of why oil drilling should never be allowed in Florida’s coastal waters. While state law limits drilling in Florida waters, the Legislature can undo the ban in a matter of days.  At the request of the oil companies they almost did that last year.

To protect Florida’s beaches now and for our children and grandchildren we need to give the people a chance to vote on an amendment banning nearshore drilling on November’s ballot. Once the people of Florida place this ban in the Constitution, only the people of Florida—not legislators—can remove it.

Please call or write your legislators. Let the people decide to Protect Florida’s Beaches. Put the oil drilling ban on the November ballot.

Click here to write to your legislator today. And thank you for caring about Florida’s special places. We can win this fight so our children don’t have to.

Don’t Miss Upcoming Gulf Oil Disaster Community Forums in Florida

posted on July 10, 2010 in Climate Change,Gulf Oil Spill,Oil Drilling

Environmental and clean business groups will host two Gulf Oil Disaster community forums, one in St. Petersburg on Wednesday, July 14, and the other in Miami on Thursday, July 15. These are excellent opportunities to deepen your knowledge of the crisis and solutions.

St. Petersburg College will present the Impact of the Oil Crisis in the Gulf on Tampa Bay from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 14 in the SPC-Seminole Campus Digitorium (UP 160). Download the invitation to the St. Petersburg forum here St Pete Oil Spill Forum Invitation.

In Miami, the Community Forum on the Gulf Oil Disaster: From Crisis to Solutions is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 15, at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway. Download the invitation to the Miami forum here Miami Oil Spill Community Forum Invitation.

Space is limited for each of these events. So Register Early Here.

Audubon of Florida Commends Governor’s Call for Special Session on Oil Drilling Ban

posted on July 8, 2010 in Gulf Oil Spill,Oil Drilling

Audubon of Florida welcomed Governor Charlie Crist’s call today for a special legislative session to consider a ban on oil drilling in Florida’s jurisdictional waters.

“By calling this special session, Governor Crist is listening to Floridians who really care deeply about protecting Florida’s beaches, wildlife, and its economy,” said Eric Draper, Audubon of Florida’s Executive Director. “The Gulf Oil Disaster and its harmful consequences are stark examples of why Florida’s leaders must protect our state by approving a ballot measure for a Constitutional ban on oil drilling in Florida jurisdictional waters, within up to approximately 10 miles of our coasts. We commend Governor Crist for calling this special session and we will encourage Florida’s legislators to vote to put the amendment on the ballot so that voters can choose real and lasting protections for Florida’s environment and economy.”

Watch the Governor’s announcement here.

Hands Across the Sands Events Draw Thousands

posted on June 26, 2010 in Gulf Oil Spill,Oil Drilling,Renewables

Thousands of people held hands across the sands on Florida’s beaches at noon on Saturday, June 26, 2010 to show their support for clean energy and opposition to new offshore oil drilling.

What began as a movement in Florida last February, spread throughout the country and the world today. On Florida beaches, organizers from around the state reported that hundreds to thousands of people gathered to draw a human line in the sand. Final tallies of the turnout are expected Sunday or Monday.

On Miami Beach, the human line stretched beyond what the eye could see, and Audubon of Florida was there. For more information, visit Hands Across the Sand.

Is Oil Spill Response Damaging Wildlife? Call Now

posted on June 21, 2010 in Gulf Oil Spill,Oil Drilling,Wildlife

If you see oil spill response or preparation harming Florida’s natural resources or wildlife, call a new sensitive areas hotline at 251-445-3009 today.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have established a new sensitive areas hot line for citizens to report oil spill preparation or response activities that may be causing damage to natural resources—wildlife or their habitats.

Beach dependent and nesting birds are particularly sensitive this time of year. Because of the urgency with which local governments, coastal property owners, state agencies and BP contractors are engaging on spill response, coordination has not been perfect. As a result, confirmed reports have been received of damage to natural resources from preparation activities in areas where oil has not and hopefully never will make landfall.

If you witness spill prep or response-related activities that appear to be damaging Florida wildlife or habitats, we encourage you to call the new sensitive area hot line. Also, send Audubon details and photos if possible to

The sensitive areas hot line is 251-445-3009.

Oil Spill Alert: Help Protect Florida’s Beaches and Fragile Shorebirds

NOAA Cumulative Oil Trajectory Map

Step Lightly on Florida Beaches

Well-motivated but not well informed volunteers sent out to clean debris from beaches may be disturbing nesting and other shorebirds.  Volunteers eager to move beach litter above the high water line to make it easier to clean up oil that may come ashore are putting beach and marsh nesting birds at risk.

Some people are moving beach debris such as driftwood from the beach onto high-water areas.  This is harmful as beach wildlife use naturally occurring beach debris near the water line and may be harmed when debris is piled in upland areas on or near their well camouflaged nests.  Traffic in dune areas can also harm vegetation.

Safe Tips for Cleaning Litter off Beaches:

For those who want to clean litter from the beaches in anticipation of oil coming ashore, Audubon recommends the following:

  • Use approved access points and avoid walking or hiking through marshes or seagrass beds.
  • Stay below the tidal line.
  • Leave natural debris in place because it provides nesting benefits to shorebirds and other wildlife.
  • Only remove man-made litter.
  • Do not place litter in the dunes or above the high water line.
  • Don’t use equipment such as rakes, shovels or tractors.
  • Do not bring ATVs or other motorized vehicles onto the beach.
  • Do not bring dogs onto the beach (dogs are a primary sources of beach bird disturbance and mortality.)
  • Respect posted areas and leave signs, posts and twine in place to protect beach nesting bird colonies.

You can take action in many ways:

1. Volunteer to rescue injured birds and to clean oil off Florida’s beaches and other coastal areas.
2. Sign the petition opposing state and federal plans to expand oil drilling in Florida’s water.
3. Contribute to our special fund to rescue birds injured by the oil spill and underwrite advocacy so this never happens again.
4. Recruit your friends and family to join Audubon’s response efforts.

Red Knot courtesy of Rod Wiley

Send us your photos and video of local habitats and wildlife

Audubon of Florida is urging everyone to step lightly on our beaches and follow safety tips if you are engaged in beach clean up activities.

You can also help by taking pictures and videos of the habitats and wildlife in your local communities. This local knowledge could become very useful as the oil spill evolves.
Follow these guidelines when documenting your coastal areas and wildlife and to send images to Audubon of Florida:

When photographing or filming

  • Follow all Audubon safe tips for beach cleaning.
  • Keep your distance from nesting grounds, marked areas, and resting birds. Do not flush birds.
  • Use long range zooms to capture close up images.

Send your images, video or a notification of their availability to

  • Identify the time, day, date and location that the image was taken, and use GPS coordinates if possible.
  • Identify and clearly spell the name of the photographer/videographer and provide contact information, email, telephone and address.
  • Clearly state whether Audubon may have the rights to reprint, publish in print and electronic vehicles, and share your images, providing proper credit.
  • For large photo or video files, notify us at that images are available and we will contact you with instructions for uploading them.

Note that Florida Audubon does not have a budget to pay for images but provides photo credit to the photographer/videographer.

Additional Resources

Click Here for Florida updates from the Department of Environmental Protection.

Click Here for the most updated National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maps on the oil spill’s trajectory.

Click Here to visit the Deepwater Horizon central command.

Help Rescue Florida’s Coastal Birds


The disastrous spill and leakage of oil from the sunken Deepwater Horizon oil rig is drifting toward Florida’s Gulf Coast. Help rescue Florida’s coastal birds. The 3,200-square-mile slick is just miles from Florida’s pristine, westernmost Panhandle beaches.  If efforts to stop its progress fail and oil continues to drift toward us and along the peninsula, it could harm birds, seagrass beds, coastal marshes, and eventually the mangrove islands off the Florida Keys. View the birds at risk of an oil spill.

deepwater-gerald-herbert-apYou can take action in many ways:

1. Volunteer to rescue injured birds and to clean oil off Florida’s beaches and other coastal areas.
2. Sign the petition opposing state and federal plans to expand oil drilling in Florida’s water.
3. Contribute to our special fund to rescue birds injured by the oil spill and underwrite advocacy so this never happens again.
4. Recruit your friends and family to join Audubon’s response efforts.

Your time and money can make the difference.

Add your name, address, telephone and email address to Audubon’s rescue volunteer registry. Should oil make landfall on Florida’s beaches, Audubon will function as a clearinghouse, connecting local members of the volunteer registry with oiled wildlife response leaders for your area’s beaches.

Sign the petition calling on President Obama, Governor Crist and other public officials to drop proposals to expand oil and gas exploration near Florida’s coastal areas.  They cannot ignore thousands of Floridians standing together like we did at our statewide Hands Across the Sand rallies February 13th.

Contribute to our special fund to rescue oiled wildlife, should it become necessary, and underwrite advocacy to Protect Florida’s Beaches and our coastal birds and wildlife.  Your money will be used exclusively to fund wildlife rescue and treatment and to tell national and state decision makers that Florida’s coast is too important to put it at risk from dirty and dangerous oil drilling.

Read more about the spill and its environmental impacts at:
Reuters: Gulf of Mexico leak grows, oil slick nears shore
Reuters: US Gulf of Mexico spill may hit coast this weekend
Tampa Tribune: Oil spill burn-off may affect Florida’s west coast

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