Oil spill meet up? November 8, 2007 9:48 AM   Subscribe

San Francisco Bay oil spill meet-up? Does anyone have any info or suggestions for volunteering?
posted by small_ruminant to MetaFilter Gatherings at 9:48 AM (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Holy cow, this is the first I'd heard of it - here's an SF Chronicle article for other Bay Area residents who also live under rocks. I'd be interested in helping out in cleanup efforts if there are opportunities.
posted by whir at 12:39 PM on November 8, 2007

The people that need the most volunteers (by far) in any spill are the wildlife rescue folks. There may be some call for beach cleanup also, but that's usually done under contract by the RP (so if you're looking for really dirty temporary work...). The wildlife (mostly bird) washing is often done by volunteers though. I'd check with International Bird Rescue Research Center. They seem to be coordinating the animal rehabilitation.
posted by bonehead at 12:46 PM on November 8, 2007

Yep: if you want to volunteer for the spill clean-up, the IBRRC wants you to fill out this form. Please respect their wishes---no phone calls! I can guarantee they need the phones and staff time for other things right now. It will probably take a day or two to get the cleaning centre established, so call-backs may take a bit of time.
posted by bonehead at 12:50 PM on November 8, 2007

Thanks for the nfo, bonehead. I'll be checking this out this weekend.
posted by lekvar at 12:54 PM on November 8, 2007

UC Davis runs the oiled wildlife care network and they will post a hotline phone number on their website if they need volunteers from the community http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/owcn/

Wild Care in San Rafael is also responding, and they will post information on their website if they need extra people as well http://www.wildcarebayarea.org/site/PageServer.

Presently, both programs are out walking the beaches in search of oiled animals so they do not need volunteers at this time. If you are interested in helping out, check their website often to see if that changes.
posted by special-k at 1:11 PM on November 8, 2007

Holy shit. I missed out on this, as well. Thanks for the heads up.
posted by brundlefly at 1:12 PM on November 8, 2007

Once you're done scrubbing birds, come join us for drinks at Amber on Sunday night.
posted by Koko at 1:37 PM on November 8, 2007

Thanks for the research, all!
posted by small_ruminant at 3:00 PM on November 8, 2007

bring your own 10W-40.
posted by quonsar at 8:17 AM on November 9, 2007

Volunteer hotline # is now active: (800) 228-4544.
posted by special-k at 11:36 AM on November 9, 2007

I'm in, especially for something in the East Bay. I can't get through to the hotline, though -- it's busy.

The whole thing is sad. In one story, a Sierra Club spokesperson was quoted as saying only 30% of birds and mammals survive a year after being exposed to an oil spill of this type.
posted by salvia at 12:15 PM on November 9, 2007

Okay, I got through to the 800 number. They're just taking names and numbers now but will post a training schedule as of 4 pm today on the DFG website (he didn't know if you'd have to click through or if the info would be on the front page). They're going to have a training tomorrow -- it sounds like you get trained, then start helping immediately afterward. If anyone else is going to go, let me know. Sounds like it might be in Fairfield, so some carpooling might be in order.
posted by salvia at 3:12 PM on November 9, 2007

I've posted some follow-up info on volunteering and some upcoming information sessions in small_ruminant's question in the Green.

And NPS has set up a website about the spill.
posted by rtha at 5:57 PM on November 9, 2007

A blog has been set up for coordinating "unofficial" cleanups, though it's not really clear exactly who is doing it. It was linked from the surfrider site; they are meeting on Ocean Beach tomorrow morning at 8:00 and 10:00.
posted by whir at 2:13 AM on November 10, 2007

A friend just emailed this to me:

scores of people (300?) showed up today to help clean ocean beach. big and little globs of oil on the sand at the high tide mark, new bits coming in with each wave. at least one baby bird was "rescued" (if from nothing else, it was hopefully saved from a more painful death) and more pelicans and other birds spotted with oil on their wings and body. bags and bags and bags of toxic sludge were collected. this beach was targeted because it is one of the few beaches that is not closed to the public - and as such, people that had come out for a lovely day at the beach brought their kids and dogs, others were jogging (sometimes barefoot). A good number of these people decided to stop and help with the clean up once they realized the magnitude of the spill.

the EPA is supposed to be coordinating the clean up now, and is offering training to interested volunteers. they are condensing the usual 24 hour class into 4 hours and it will be offered twice tomorrow, monday. 8am to noon, and 1pm to 5pm. location is the United Irish Cultural Center 2700 45th Avenue (near Wawona and Sloat Boulevard) in San Francisco. I dont' know much more than that.

my feeling is that the EPA wants people trained in safety, and that they won't teach you anything that isn't self explanatory with regards to the clean up. As of yesterday, they were not up to speed with using the mats of human hair that oh-so-wonderfully and magically attract oil molecules, and "official clean up crews are just shoveling sand into bags without much regard to detail. It may end up that in
order to enter some of the closed beaches to do clean up you need to have attended an official training, but that is simply my opinion.

other opportunities to help can be found at http://zunasurf.wordpress.com/ and the volunteer section of craigslist has updates everday too. also, there was a clean up today sponsored by the city of sf, which was just to divert people from where the acutal spill work was needed,
and was really just a habitat restoration/standard beach clean up. thinly veiled. easy to spot bogus events.
posted by serazin at 5:32 PM on November 11, 2007

I went out on Saturday in the pouring rain and got quite a bit in the 3 and a half hours I was there before getting escorted off the beach by the park rangers, which made a big song and dance about calling in our drivers' license numbers. They'd have made a bigger song and dance out of it if it hadn't been pouring, I'm sure.

Then I went to the so-called training provided by OWCN and the Dept of Fish and Game. HundredsIt was offensive. I left after an hour and a half when it became clear I was not needed as any sort of rabble rouser. I thought the audience was going to eat the poor woman alive. (Who seemed oblivious to her offense, oddly.)

On Sunday I went to the bird place- they finally called me up. Mostly I went because I wanted the Hazmat training. Which was a 25 minute video, about half of which was how to suit up properly. Not rocket science.

If the information that was in that 25 minute video is all that's standing between trained and untrained, not utilizing volunteers is even more unconscionable. Park rangers could spend the exact same amount of time training and overseeing as they are citing people and the beaches at least would be a lot closer to clean.

I have no idea how they'll handle the marshes and sloughs- the pros might have to handle those.

So I spent 11 hours filling syringes with a lovely, aromatic mash of flaming food, pureed smelt, and vanilla Ensure (I think) that was the consistency of slightly thick cream of wheat. I have a new love of eared grebes and a new ... let us call it appreciation... for the great intensity with which bird lovers care about birds.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:42 PM on November 13, 2007

That should be FLAMINGO, not flaming. Sorry. Flaming food would have been a little more exciting.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:43 PM on November 13, 2007

small_ruminant, you are awesome.
posted by serazin at 9:20 AM on November 14, 2007

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