Bracelets for Birds! Teen Helps Wildlife Affected by Oil Spill
When the oil spill endangered marine and bird life off the Gulf of Mexico this summer, sixteen-year-old Shannon Pugliese didn't just stand by and watch...she took action! She is selling rubber bracelets, which are imprinted with the phrase "Oceans Include Lives," and is putting the funds toward helping wildlife. Teen Voices' Laura Paquette spoke with Shannon about her summer of action!
Teen Voices: What was the goal of the Oceans Include Lives bracelets?
Shannon: Well, my original goal was to raise over $25,000 in a period of time for the animals and wildlife down in the Gulf that have been affected by the oil spill. All the money that I'm raising is going to Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, and they're sending down teams to the different zones down around where the oil has been present, and they're just helping through education and research and just teaching people how to get the eco-system back to its original state. Which is going to take years and decades to get back, it's not going to be an overnight thing.
TV: So why did you decide to focus on animals affected by the oil spill?
Shannon: Well, last year I raised money for South African penguins that were affected by the oil spill down in South Africa, and I really felt that [during] this oil spill, I could do something for the animals, and how they could be saved with the wildlife. And a lot of the animals aren't being saved because they've been ingesting the oil and they're dying, so I feel that if I could do a slight difference in getting the wildlife back to its original state it would be a great thing.
TV: What inspired you to use bracelets?
Shannon: I got the idea from the yellow [Livestrong] bracelets. They really got awareness out there so I thought our bracelets would get a lot of awareness out there. People see this bright blue color and they'll be like, "What does that say on it?" and people could tell them and it'll just spread a lot of awareness.
TV: Did you get your friends and classmates involved?
Shannon: I started this toward the end of the school year so I didn't really get a chance yet to start with school, but right when school starts I'm going to start trying to sell them during school hours. But I have all my friends and they're telling many people about it, and I've had a lot emails saying either "I really want to buy some" or "Can I just donate?"
TV: What has been the hardest part about working toward your goal?
Shannon: The hardest part? Right now I'm pretty much trying to get a lot of corporate sponsors, and I'm sending out the article that was written about me in the News Times in Danbury. I'm just getting that article out to a lot of corporate sponsors, like Fox News I got it out to, and TV shows. I'm sending it out and just hoping they'll read my article and find it interesting.
TV: What has been your favorite part?
TV: Have your goals for the project changed?
Shannon: Right now I'm still working up toward my goal of 25,000. Right now I have over three thousand in a month's time, maybe less than a month. I would love for it to go over25,000 but I have to reach my goal first.
TV: Do you have any advice to young girls who also want to help wildlife affected by the oil spill?
Shannon: I would just say, start out local and just get your idea out there. Hopefully corporate [sponsors] and celebrities might pick it up. Just work toward your goal and it'll be achieved!
TV: Anything else you'd like our readers to know?
Shannon: Thank you for allowing me to voice my beliefs that I can make a difference. My final thought is to help cross our country to unite aquariums both small and large to offer any expertise to turn our ecosystem around.
For more information about Oceans include Lives, email Shannon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tagged as: environmental issues, girls effecting social change, Girls in Action, marine wildlife, oil spill, oil spill cleanup, social change, teen girls
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