By Delinda Lombardo on
Last week, LookToTheStars.org posted an exclusive interview with Jordin Sparks, in which she spoke about her charity work. Days after the interview, Jordin traveled to Louisiana with the Audubon Society to view the effects of the oil spill on the wildlife and marshes. We were lucky to get to speak to Jordin’s mother, Jodi Sparks, and the Audubon Society’s Mississippi River Initiative Coordinator – David Ringer – about her trip.
Jodi, what prompted Jordin’s trip to the Gulf?
Jordin woke up one morning to the news, realized she was going to be in Louisiana for her tour, called me and said “I don’t care what I have to do, how early I have to get up, I HAVE to do something!” She was touched by the wildlife that was affected so we decided to call Audubon and see how we could help.
Why was there so little publicity?
We wanted to get down there and see for ourselves what was going on. We didn’t want to do a “drive by” for publicity. There is a method to our madness…. now that we have some insight after meeting with Audubon we can move forward with a plan to create awareness and make a difference.
You have an amazing daughter and have quite a bit to be proud of. Has she ever surprised you with her positive actions? And what are you MOST proud of?
I’m so proud of her and actually, she doesn’t surprise me with positive actions…that’s just “her.” I’m most proud of how she is a big sister to her brother and hasn’t lost site of what’s really important at the end of the day.
David, how did Jordin’s visit benefit the situation?
We’re really thankful for Jordin’s concern and involvement because she is a voice for change in the United States and around the world. People like Jordin can transcend the day-to-day news stories and motivate people to make the long-term changes that will help the Gulf Coast recover and (we sincerely hope!) keep something like this from happening again. We hope that because of Jordin’s example, and the examples other celebrities offer, people will make choices for a better future and will make their own voices heard too, motivating their families, friends, neighbors, teachers and elected officials to change – or as Jordin says, to Make A Difference.
What can WE do to help?
Even though this disaster is so big and may seem far away, you can make a difference wherever you live. Here are some ideas:
- Protect and restore bird habitats near your home. By gardening with native plants, reducing yard chemical use, removing trash from local waterways, removing invasive species, joining workdays in nearby parks and refuges, and speaking up for the special places near you, you can make a difference for birds, many of which may migrate through the Gulf region at some point during their lives.
- Help count birds in your area all throughout the year and during special census periods. Information gathered in these surveys helps scientists understand what’s happening to birds and can help shape important restoration projects that are important for the health of birds and people both now and into the future.
- Reduce your personal energy use and advocate for a cleaner, smarter, safer future. By driving less, turning off your computer at night, adjusting your thermostat, using reusable shopping bags, and encouraging those around you to make similar choices, you can chip away at our out-of-control demand for fossil fuels. And by making your voice heard in the public arena, you can help tackle the big challenges that we all have to solve together.
- Support long-term restoration for the Gulf of Mexico ecosystems. The oil disaster is the latest blow to a region that already faces many very serious long-term environmental problems. Long-term restoration programs will be essential to make this important, productive region of our country healthy for people and for wildlife again.
- Find out more about these and other opportunities at www.audubon.org. The website has lots more information and tells you how you can help. If you want to make a difference for birds and for the people of the Gulf Coast , consider joining the National Audubon Society as a member, signing up online as an activist, and getting involved with an Audubon chapter near you. You’ll get information throughout the year about what’s going on and how you can make a difference – both for the Gulf Coast and for your own backyard.
A friend of mine wanted to volunteer with wildlife rescue efforts along the Gulf, but was told she had to get certified, yet no one offers this certification. Do people really need special certificates to help?
People who handle wildlife do need specialized training and documented experience, both for their own good and for the good of the animals they treat. Birds and other wild animals are easily injured or killed by improper handling. People who’d like to receive training and experience (typically three months or more) may be able to explore options through local zoos, veterinary training programs, or certified wildlife rehabilitation facilities. However, it’s important to understand that so far in this oil disaster, many trained professionals are in the Gulf region responding to the needs, and many more who already have certification and years of experience are standing by help when and if they are called in, so this isn’t the greatest need. To make a difference for birds and other wildlife affected by the spill, consider taking many of the important actions we’ve discussed above. It’s often the actions that feel less tangible that will make the greatest difference in the long term. Remember, even if you live far from the Gulf, you can make a difference. Visit www.audubon.org to find out more.
LookToTheStars.org would like to thank Jodi Sparks and David Ringer for taking the time to talk to us. To view a video of Jordin visiting the Gulf Oil Spill, click here.
Copyright © 2010 Look to the Stars