State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Racing to Save the Planet: Conservation Efforts in the Gulf Region

A satellite image of the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico as of May 1st.
The April 20th explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the coast of Louisiana continues to pour thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico each day. The spill—which is being heralded as the worst oil disaster in US history—is quickly encroaching upon the habitats of hundreds of species in the Gulf region. PATH (People Protecting Animals and Their Habitats), is an NGO that has stepped forward to combat the destruction of habitats and injury to animals that is being caused by the oil spill. Kelly Overton, the founder and director of PATH and former student in Columbia’s Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, is leading a team of  volunteers to the Gulf region to set up a center to aid in the rescue efforts that are currently taking place in the area. His plan and subsequent needs, in his own words, are as follows:

In the coming days our country will begin to suffer the consequences of the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The aftermath of the spill will be truly devastating to animals and their habitats across the gulf coast. PATH has determined a need for logistical, supply and rescue support will be needed for months to come.

I will be leaving NYC to travel to the gulf region and mobilize a central supply and rescue/information center in the wake of the oil spill. PATH volunteers are currently establishing supply/donation drop sites in locations across the country. The supplies and donations secured at these sites will be efficiently sent to our central location in the gulf region and then distributed to areas of most need. Below are some items that are needed. Items that cost less to buy locally than mail/transport are not included.


Volunteers to collect supplies/donations in their communities/offices/schools
Nets w/ Handle
Tents w/ stakes/etc.
WaterPic(K)s – water spray – not electric brush
Sun Protection Lotion (non animal tested please)
Wading Boots
Syringes for feeding (NO NEEDLES)
Digital camera (s) with appropriate connecting cords
Video camera w/ appropriate connecting cords
Vet Wrap
Veg/Vegan snack bars
Walmart/Target gift cards
Heating pads
Electrical extension cords
Hotel/airline points/miles
Financial support – donations

In NYC supplies/donations can be dropped off at

Moo Shoes
78 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002
(Lower East Side b/t Grand/Broome)

We are also in dire need of funding/support. This is an all volunteer effort, but housing/lodging will be needed. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation via All funds collected will go to rescue efforts – no salaries, no advertising, no administrative costs!

Checks can be mailed to:
151 First Avenue
Suite 161
New York, NY 10003

Supplies can be mailed to:
c/o 420 Palm Lake Drive
Pensacola, FL 32507

To learn how you can volunteer to help call 617-354-2826

Our Hen House will be blogging/podding about our efforts in the region and how you can help. Please visit

Thank you!

Kelly Overton, MPA, MPH
Executive Director
People Protecting Animals & Their Habitats – PATH Inc.

We at the CSSR hope that you will join us in giving our full support to Mr. Overton and the conservation efforts of PATH.
Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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