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Volunteers recruited to help in oil spill threat

Conservation groups say birds, now in the prime breeding season, are especially at risk.
Conservation groups say birds, now in the prime breeding season, are especially at risk.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Conservation groups seek volunteers to help in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida
  • Audubon Society making Center for Birds of Prey available for bird cleansing and rehabilitation
  • Deep Water Horizon response team looking for help in identifying affected animals

(CNN) -- Efforts to minimize the damage from the huge oil spill from a rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico are under way, but wildlife conservation groups say the oil could pose a disaster for Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida coastal areas.

How can you help? A number of organizations are recruiting volunteers.

The Audubon Society, which is affiliated with the Louisiana Coastal Initiative, is making its Center for Birds of Prey in Florida available for bird cleansing and rehabilitation and is seeking volunteers. Elsewhere, Audubon said it was gearing up to mobilize volunteers and provide assistance as the oil reaches land in Louisiana and elsewhere. Find a local office

The Deep Water Horizon response team is looking for help in identifying shoreline and animals affected. Oiled wildlife should not be captured but instead reported at 1-866-557-1401. To report areas with oil ashore or to leave contact information to volunteer in the affected areas, call 1-866-448-5816.

These local organizations also are gathering volunteers' information as they prepare for the environmental damage this oil can cause:

Interactive: Responding to an oil spill
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The Alabama Coastal Foundation is collecting contact information from volunteers for cleanup efforts along the Alabama coast should the oil spill reach the state's shores. Call 251-990-6002

The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program is looking for volunteers to help reduce the potential impact of the oil spill in Mobile Bay. Call 251-431-6409.

The Mobile Baykeeper is collecting contact information for volunteers to respond anywhere along the Gulf Coast, if needed. Call 251-433-4229.

Save Our Seabirds is a Florida bird rescue group that is looking for support as its response team prepares to help oiled wildlife. Call 941-388-3010.

The National Wildlife Federation is looking for volunteers and support to help spot distressed or oiled wildlife, and to assist in the cleanup and restoration efforts along the coast of Louisiana. You can text the word "NWF" to 20222. That'll donate $10 to the National Wildlife Federation through your phone bill.

In addition to the wildlife specific organizations, others are also looking to assist with the effects of the oil spill.

The Greater New Orleans Foundation, which serves the 13 parishes that comprise New Orleans, has opened the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund, which will offer emergency grants to nonprofit organizations helping the victims of the oil spill, and address the long-term economic, environmental, and cultural effects of the disaster.

The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana's mission is to help restore and protect a sustainable coastal Louisiana. They are accepting volunteers and support to assist with spill recovery efforts.

The Gulf Coast states likely to be affected have also set up sites where information about volunteering can be found: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

United Way has launched the Gulf Recovery Fund, which is providing emergency assistance and long term recovery support for the communities devastated by this oil spill. Those who need help or want to volunteer to help can dial 2-1-1. You can donate to this fund by going to liveunited.org/gulfrecovery, or text the word "United" to 50555 to donate $10 from your mobile phone.

The Nature Conservancy has committed to the long-term restoration work needed in the Gulf and states along its coast, and has launched their Fund for Gulf Coast Restoration to support this effort. The Fund was set up to aid in re-establishing critical habitats such as marshes, seagrass beds, oyster reefs, and coastal wetlands. You can text the word "coast" to 50555. That'll donate $10 through your mobile phone.

The Gulf Coast Fund has created special emergency grants in response to the oil disaster. The organization is distributing these grants to registered non-profit groups engaged in community-lead responses to this crisis. Call 212-812-4361.

Save Our Gulf is a campaign by the Waterkeeper Alliance to support and coordinate efforts to protect the Gulf Coast. Their fund supports Waterkeepers from Texas to Florida who are working to hold back this oil spill from their waterways and communities.

The First Response Team of America is working with the National Guard in Southern Louisiana to build dams to hold back the oil from the fragile coastal habitats. Their founder, Tad Agoglia -- who was named a CNN Hero in 2008 - has made their work on the oil spill their top priority until the disaster is contained.

AmeriCares is providing medical care and supplies to organizations along the Gulf, and is funding and assisting mental health assessments and counseling needs for the immediate and long-term recovery of the region. Call 1-800-486-4357

The Children's Health Fund has been in the Gulf since Katrina, and are providing medical and mental health care, and addressing long-term health and mental health issues affecting children as a result of this disaster. They can be reached at 1-800-535-7448.

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