A tern lands on oil absorption booms used in an effort to prevent damage from the 2010 BP oil spill. Photo © Bridget Besaw

The Gulf: 3 Ways You Can Help

It’s hard to express how much all the phone calls and emails in the wake of the Gulf oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico mean to me and to all the Conservancy’s staff — especially those working long hours in the Gulf states.

Many of you contacted us again after reading our Alabama director of conservation’s latest blog posts about our efforts there, asking what you can do to help Bill and his team respond to the spill.

Here are three things you can do today to help the Gulf coast, its wildlife and the people who depend on it:

Already, we’ve put to work The Nature Conservancy’s best knowledge and expertise in the Gulf region.

Our Fund for Gulf Coast Restoration will help us do even more and will be put to use by the Conservancy and its marine scientists and staff knowledgeable about the Gulf and about oil spill impacts to help the long-term restoration of this critical ecosystem.

Currently, our Louisiana staff is conducting flights over the coast with federal, state and some of our non-governmental partners to help determine the extent of the spill and are working to protect critical oyster reefs in the Grand Isle, Biloxi Marsh and Vermilion Bay areas.

I am in the Gulf region today to assess what more the Conservancy can do to respond and support our staff members who live along the Gulf and work every day on conservation here.

As you know, this is not just about the shrimp, the oysters, and the crabs. It is about both the Gulf’s marine ecosystem, as well the local economy and the people who depend on it.

I hope you will continue to follow Bill’s work and our progress on our blog, Cool Green Science.

Thank you for your offer to help and your critical support.

If you believe in the work we’re doing, please lend a hand.


  1. Our government knew about a shut off valve for the oil rigs and did not find it necessary for us to require it on rigs in the US. I want to know why!!!! It could have saved millions of dollars and our environment and our economy. the people of the US and the environment activists need to do something about this.

  2. I writing from Biloxi Ms. we need Bails of hay to be dropped all in the water along our shores where the oil is floating toward!We’re hitting dead ends trying to contact BP with what our fishermen have discovered about the Hay…..Time is running out and we’re desperate! Please help us save our coast!

  3. I live in NJ and am facing an economic squeeze due to politics that is hitting seniors very hard. I have no money! Yet I cry every day at the senseless, greedy, laziness that has unleashed this catastophe on our beautiful ocean. How many times can we throw state size boggs of plastic, billions of gallons of oil, and watch extinction run ramped before something so sad happens. I am sorry I can not help except speak out!

  4. We all have to take some responsibility for our dependance upon that the oil that only comes at a risk and a cost. Was the risk accurately assessed? Is there any risk small enough to say yes, let’s take it, when it comes to our precious environment? I think we now know the answer is NO.

  5. There are many of us who care deeply about what is going on in the gulf as a result of the oil spill and don’t have additional money to give at this time. Please don’t let that stop you if you are feeling called to take some kind of action. There are many other ways to provide support.

    Let’s ask the Nature Conservancy on behalf of the coalition of groups responding to the gulf spill if it can provide a list of items needed. Like a big wish list. Some ideas might be:
    – someone with connections to the hotel industry in the gulf that can get rooms for free or at reduced cost.
    – someone with contacts to get vehicles for transporting the volunteers.
    – someone with a truck fleet willing to donate a few trucks to transport the animals.
    – someone with contacts for providing food supplies for the volunteers or the wildlife
    – someone to provide some laptops for the crews
    – what about life jackets for the volunteers
    – what about mobile homes for temporary command centers
    – how about specialized testing equipment?

    Each of us live is a place where there might be businesses that have the supplies these organizations need. Maybe we could educate these businesses and make a request for these items on behalf of the recovery effort. I don’t know. I do know that we can ask the conservancy and the coalition if they would consider this type of help. What do you think?

  6. Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

    I know how to stop Gulf of Mexico oil spill in one day.
    My idea is for sale for $5,000,000, is a very simple way to stop it 100% Guaranty. Exxon will pay when done…

  7. The Gulf coast catastrophe is NOT an OIL SPILL. The Gulf Coast disaster is an unmitigated man-made deep water volcanic vent of crude oil and gas.

    The video below explains how BP and Washington have totally mishandled the clean-up and
    are considering using a NUCLEAR Bomb which will only increase the magnitude of the CRISIS.


  8. Gee, maybe if the Nature Conservancy used some of the $10MILLION dollars given them by BP and thier ilk, plus seating BP individuals on their board, they could ‘start’ to clean up the mess they’re in, by getting in bed with a known eco-terrorist……and won’t have to rely on $1 or $2 contributions from us individuals…..Shame on you!

  9. My great-grandparents immigrated to the U.S. in 1880, entering at the Port of New Orleans, and from that moment on my relatives have lived near the Gulf of Mexico. It sickens me to see that beautiful eco-system and abundant wildlife destroyed. However, I am appalled that the Nature Conservancy would be so greedy as to ask its members to donate money to clean up the mess; why aren’t you demanding that your partner, BP, foot the bill? You also ask that your members donate their time; why don’t you insist that your buddies at BP *pay* your members to do that work? Just the billions of dollars in profits they made earlier in the year should cover it.

    Shame on you, Nature Conservancy! Getting in bed with a greedy, voracious oil company that went ahead with its plan, while throwing caution, safety, and human life to the wind, has its consequences. You’ve lost all credibility, and if this is how you are “Protecting nature. Preserving life” then I want no part of it!

    1. Cindy, I’m Robert Lalasz, an employee of the Conservancy. I’ve responded to similar comments you made elsewhere on our blog about donations to the Conservancy going to the cleanup of the Gulf oil spill.

      First, we are very sorry to lose your support — and, of course, the support of some of those who are commenting here tonight. There is no question that BP
      should foot the bill. In fact, it’s required by law, and the Conservancy has always fully supported that. In all likelihood, we will be among the thousands seeking restitution for costs we are now incurring for protecting coastal habitat and shellfish restoration sites from the BP oil spill.

      We are not asking supporters for money for clean-up. Clean-up costs are among the costs the company should pay for. We have been working to protect wildlife habitat in the Gulf for decades and have tens of millions of dollars invested in coastal habitat acquisitions and shellfish restoration projects. We will be there for decades to come, and we will have our work cut out for us restoring what the oil spill is at this very moment destroying. The help and support we are asking for is for our long-term restoration work.

      The Nature Conservancy has always been and always will be the pragmatic conservation organization that works with all sectors of society to protect ecologically important places around the world. To put it bluntly: We’ll never save our lands and waters by talking to ourselves. We’ll only get there if we try to influence entities, such as BP, whose decisions affect the very places we want to conserve. Our ultimate goal is a clean energy future where fossil fuels and their associated impacts are a thing of the past — and where we also consider the impacts of renewable energy on land and habitats. In the meantime, energy exploration and development is happening. It is a reality. We would do our conservation mission a disservice by not trying to get energy companies to conduct their development more responsibly. For instance, our Development by Design work in Wyoming, Colorado and Mongolia is a science-based framework that protects the most sensitive ecosystems from energy extraction development. We invite you to read about it and consider the consequences to nature if the Conservancy were not trying to intervene in these situations.

  10. I am finished with the Nature Conservancy, I have been a member for 25 years but I have had enough of the lies the Conservancy and BP are telling. You will get no more money from me.

  11. Very informative, we posted something similar on our coastal Louisiana blog at the Environmental Defense Fund in the immediate aftermath of the oil spill:


    I don’t think people should lose sight of the longer-term need for restoration in the wetlands. TNC has been working for a long time with other environmental organizations on rebuilding and protecting the wetlands. In a state like Louisiana, which is criss-crossed by thousands of miles of energy pipelines, it should come as no surprise that companies in the oil and gas sector would be major contributors to those efforts.

    My fear is that unless we promote an active program of sustained restoration and remediation in southern Louisiana, attention will turn away from coastal Louisiana’s long-term issues of land loss once the Deepwater Horizon spill ends, just as it did after Katrina. I think that we as a nation have a duty to renew the wetlands, not just by rebuilding them, but by clearing them of the toxins and pollutants that have poured into them for decades.

  12. Wow, you got me: TNC is asking for money to “restore” instead of “clean up” the coastline–that’s a huge semantic difference. You can’t quibble, or play word games, with the reality that you’re asking members to volunteer their time in the Gulf, can you?

    And you can “seek all the restitution” you want from BP; good luck with that! As I recall, Exxon dragged out claims in court against the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska for approx. 20 years, and ended up paying out something like 3% of the intital damages awarded to those “seeking restitution.” No doubt BP will do exactly the same with similar results, so I wouldn’t count on that money if I were TNC.

  13. Yes, NC is pragmatic. You seem to be pragmatic about promoting and sustaining yourselves as an organization. Saying that a group that does not cooperate with the worst environmental destroyers to be “talking to ourselves” is just creating a straw man to justify your comfortably doing business with those who are destroying our planet. If your approach worked, this devastating disaster would not have happened. And now, with this tragedy of epic proportions, instead of reconsidering your position, you continue to defend it.

    We need to support environmental groups who will pressure lawmakers to for once put the fate of the world above the fate of their political careers, and who will rein in the unmitigated greed of corporations. What more proof do we need that our politics and business practices need to change?

  14. There should be a march,I believe the goverment should be doing more anything. It is just horrible…with technology advancing as we type, it just seems illogical for this to keep continuing with no end at sight.

  15. Nature Conservancy lists BP as one of its business partners. The Conservancy also has given BP a seat on its International Leadership Council and has accepted nearly $10 million in cash and land contributions from BP and affiliated corporations over the years.

    WOW! Just WOW!

  16. From Robert Lalasz…..

    “The Nature Conservancy has always been and always will be the pragmatic conservation organization that works with all sectors of society to protect ecologically important places around the world. To put it bluntly: We’ll never save our lands and waters by talking to ourselves. We’ll only get there if we try to influence entities, such as BP, whose decisions affect the very places we want to conserve.”


    Well, it appears you have failed miserably. BP refused to install shut-off valves. BP had over 250 safety violations. Exactly what has your relationship with BP accomplished to benefit the oil drilling in Gulf of Mexico? Didn’t you research BP’s record on violations? Also, your partnership with BP clearly should have included oversight and inspections of their oil rigs. With your help BP’s advertisements has pulled the wool over the eyes of many. They have used your good name to mislead the public about their ambition to be environmentally conscious when their actions suggests otherwise.

  17. I want to be trained to rescue and clean birds, but i don’t know who does that. i live in new jersey on the delaware bay. can anyone offer a suggestion as to where i can go?

  18. To linda and others – Do you want to make a difference, but feel too far away to have and impact? Join or host a United By Blue Clean-up at unitedbyblue.org There are beach and waterway clean-ups going on ever week. Everything is provided so it cost nothing but your time. Help protect and rid our oceans of pollution, even if you can’t make it to the Gulf!

  19. I’m still confused about the part the Nature Conservancy will or should play in this oil gush mess. I have yet to see in the news that anyone is doing anything practical on the Gulf’s shores. This is a huge mystery to me. Are we as a people not capable any more of doing two things at once? Do we need to call in NASA, who while not perfect, certainly tries the hardest to accomplish goals in a safe and smart way?

    1. CGK,
      Thanks for your question. My name is Dave Connell and I’d like to address it for you. The Nature Conservancy has a long history working in the Gulf Coast to protect and restore the critical wetlands and shellfish reefs that provides a natural and economic lifeblood for the area and that the BP oil spill is now impacting.

      We are working specifically on the impacts of the spill in the following ways:
      1. Helping to deploy booms to protect project sites in Louisiana. As the spill — or gush, as you more accurately put it — unfolded, staff in Alabama also deployed booms to protect project sites along that coast. As the it became clear that Louisiana would bear the brunt of the oil coming out of BP’s well, we shifted resources from that state to Louisiana. We’re trying to keep our members and supporters up-to-date on that work through near-daily blog posts from the region. You can see the latest of these posts here:

      2. We are working with scientists from LSU, USGS, and NOAA to collect “pre-condition data” on ecosystems before the oil hits them. It is critical to restoration efforts to understand the state of the Gulf prior to the oil hitting the coast so restoration can target the most critical/highly impacted areas. You can get some insight into these details here:

      We also have one of the best existing data sets on the current state of the Gulf Coast region, which we have made publicly available in interactive maps and will be used to assess the damage from the spill. You can read more about this here:

      3. We are working with local non-profits to coordinate volunteer opportunities in the Gulf. We are asking all of our members and supporters who want to volunteer to do so through the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. This post has a link to their site.

      The Conservancy has a long history of working in the Gulf and we will be working there on the ground and in the water long after the BP gush is over. We’ll be working to continue the restoration work we’ve already undertaken and, undoubtedly, begin new projects as a result of this disaster.

      I hope this clarifies our current and future role in the Gulf. I’d encourage you to check out our complete coverage on the blog here:

      Please continue to post questions you have to the blog and we will do our best to address them as they come in.

      Thanks again,
      Dave Connell

  20. “Gee, maybe if the Nature Conservancy used some of the $10MILLION dollars given them by BP they could ’start’ to clean up the mess they’re in…”

    We are all in this ‘mess.’ Or have you already forgotten that because you turned your TV off. Quite hating.

    “Well, it appears you have failed miserably.”

    Why the harsh words? Why does it sound like you are putting all the responsibility on one non-profit’s shoulders?

  21. Just like someone is pouring poisson from factories to our rivers, is the spilling in the golf .How long before the ocean heals.We needed to do something YESTERDAY.Forget about politics, and take action inmediatly.The spill would have long lasting negative effect to the ecology, that we my not be able to see it fully recovered.There are many ways to reduce the impact, but at high monetary cost, wich compared with the money the BPs makes with this oil rig is less than nothing

  22. After reading all the comments, it seems to me people are frustrated and angry. Yet we all use electricity and drive our cars. I want to Thank the NC for all they do in their unique way. There are many different groups with different ways of doing things.

    I’m hoping someone has an ear of the President or the BP CEO for a suggestion. Why haven’t they brought together engineers from NASA and other science based government entities, organizations, and companies to try and solve the problem?

    It seems clear that the way BP is trying solutions has not helped. I know they take suggestions on a website, but how long before someone not in charge decides it won’t work and it gets thrown out before it reaches a person in charge?

    In the meantime I thought that the suggestion by Becky on May 20th for hotel rooms, vehicles, etc was a good one. This is our only earth, it saddens me to think disasters like this is what it takes to wake some people up to how fragile our planet is, but I try in my local area to tell people! It’s all I can do at this point.

  23. We’ve been supporters, members and more for a long time. I came to TNC site today to see their spin on the disaster in the gulf would be. I found soft balls. Same thing on a few other sites that I’ve supported with my $ and time. I kept looking thinking I’d missed something.
    I did miss something.
    Corporate logos from the heavy hitting corporate supporters of TNC and others.

    Everyone has been bought out to not think of consequences any longer. Conservationists in bed with oil companies thinking it is better to be partially listened to than not listened to at all. I’ve always been suspicious of collaboration between conservation and big business with good reason. It is an oxymoron.

    What good is conserving real estate that has been “killed” by mishandling (from start to finish) resources.

    The new standard for me will be this:
    If I expect to attend some festival, convention, ‘fair’,
    or make donations to NGOs, or volunteer my time, I will first ascertain that no “to big to fail” corporate logos appear on advertising.

  24. I quit donating to TNC a while ago because I felt it was more of a political organization than an environmental organization.

    Even so, I expected to come to your website today and see a headline screaming “SAVE THE GULF NOW!” and instead found a very bland response.

    Where is the advocacy? Where is the outrage? Where is the passion for our environment?

    Very disappointed.

  25. To Linda from NJ ,
    Check with the Audabon Society. There are a lot of coastal preserves in NJ because it is a major flyway for migratory birds.There is a world renown Dr. Sandy Berger from Rutgers who may also be able to point things where to go and when.
    I personally volunteer for a shellfish restoration project in the Barnegat Bay. Ther are a few of them in your area and they can always use volunteers.Good luck

  26. you should get a really carpenter and they could make a thing like the thing at the end of a wine bottle and get a scuba diver to punch it right into the hole and it be all fixed up.

  27. google british polluters shirt

    the one titled:

    sweetest shirt regarding the oil spill

    wearing a shirt not only lets you went in a peaceful way but also allows you to exercise your freedom of speech.

  28. I’m kind of surprised about negative comments against TNC. I think you need to go back and read their mission & vision. I thought their approach matched. We are all outraged, but complaining doesn’t fix anything. Using our persuasion to our political leaders is one way we help. I think doing something they think is morally correct and working to solve problems is far better than off the cuff shirts and comments (Though I like the new name 🙂 Let’s focus on solutions. 1st thing is get more informed (like knowing it’s too deep for a scuba diver.) 2nd contact our leaders. 3rd do something to help. 4th – look for other areas that could create a problem and help find solutions. Just my two bits (which in this economy is worth about 1/2 a penny…)

  29. the oil spill well can be sealed relatively easily, the method is described, and a link provided to the video on youtube under science and technology at http://www.justtalking3.info, along with a variety of other machines for use in this crisis. it is worth a look.

  30. They really need to put a stop to this. It is so sad to think of all the people and animals that are affected from the spill. The government is being stupid of how they are handling the situation. I am going to be donating money for the animals that are affected from this. Everyone should be worried about this because its going to affect them some how.

  31. I Wish that this NEVER even happened!!!

  32. Someone needs to stand up for the marine life. Lilly my mannatee has had to be taken from her home in the sea because of the oil spill. The coral reefs depends on the marine life so start standing up for the coral reefs

  33. IT’S BP’S FAULT!!!!

  34. a crow is related is birds
    someone needs to stand up for the marine life

  35. Dear Nature Conservancy: I know something of the current success in the Gulf–the oil spill was a disaster!!!

    Sea turtles are always a hardy species like most turtles!!!Sea turtles like sand and sea, especially the water!!! The Gulf region has alot of natural beaches endangered by the oil spill!!! Hope the beaches stay clean and beautiful!!! LLV

  36. You have no idea how much you are being appreciated! God bless you and your efforts!

    I have been trying to do my part, even writing two posts about the Oil Spill via Amplify, as well as Tweeting about it every chance I get. Still, I feel I could be, should be and will be doing more.

    Mark, you have inspired me to step-up my environmental efforts even more, particularly regarding the Gulf, Climate Change and Alternative Energy. Thanks!

  37. The gulf oil spill has devistated tons of animals and marine life and it’s very upseting to watch our world be polluted right in front of us. I feel bad for the people that were effected and the animals.

  38. Nice post with very useful information to all keep it up thanks for sharing with us. Problems of spills are today very common if we don’t aware of them. Here i want to share a newly developed site which provide useful products for spill cleanup & control. http://ternenv.com

Add a Comment