The BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Disaster has destroyed and continues to destroy local culture, our environment, and our wildlife. Both the long-term after effects of this disaster and its ultimate reach are yet unknown. BirdProject’s mission is to raise and maintain public awareness of the Oil Spill and to help provide funding for Environmental Cleanup Initiatives and aid for affected wildlife.
BirdProject provides work to the area by teaming exclusively with local artists, suppliers, and manufacturers and building positive partnerships between a range of New Orleans communities. Working with community and education based Operation Reach and Stretching Sky Arts Laboratory helps highlight this important issue in the minds of teenagers as well as teaching new skills in both green technologies and entrepreneurial creativity.
BirdProject is manufacturing an exclusive edition of black, bird-shaped glycerin soaps. Each soap contains a white, ceramic bird, made from Louisiana Clay, which remains as a keepsake once the outer soap has been washed away. The use of Glycerin - a biodiesel by-product - helps bolster awareness of green energy initiatives while emphasizing smart usage of manufacturing waste.
Through the daily act of washing, you will eventually free the clean, white, ceramic birds inside - potent symbols of restoration and recovery. The soap is shaped to be cradled in your hand and is a powerful representation of all creatures affected by the spill.
The soaps are manufactured from natural, locally sourced ingredients: biodiesel glycerin from Operation Reach, fair trade olive oil, aloe, activated black charcoal, and a light cypress scent - reminiscent of Louisianan bayous.
BirdProject’s production model is highly scalable, enabling cost-effective runs for both local and national retail outlets. 30% of the retail price will be donated directly to the Gulf Restoration network and the IBRRC. Profits will provide funding for follow up products including raising funding/awareness for wetland restoration.
BirdProject is the launch product from, MATTER, a new company based here in New Orleans. The first of its kind in the U.S., MATTER designs and produces unique products, to support social needs initiatives. Working in partnership with community organizations and NGOs, these products are basic in function, utilizing sustainable materials which are ethically and locally sourced, and designed to raise funding and/or awareness for specific causes.
Since my relocation to New Orleans from Brooklyn, NY to help in oil spill cleanup I have had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer for Audubon. This day was amazing in the ability to see so many healthy pelicans in an oil-free natural, habitat and a massive thank you to Lexie Montgomery, the incredible Audubon Volunteer Coordinator and new friend.
Please find the Audubon blog post on the volunteer day here: http://gulfoilspill.audubon.org/newsroom/news-stories/2010/audubon-volunteers-aid-young-pelicans-recovery-effort and I wrote about this informative and inspiring day on the project's process blog here: http://birdprojectsoap.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/web-post-on-volunteering-to-feed-baby-pelican-survivors/
Additionally, yesterday Audubon released their 6 month report on the oil spill, you can find that here: http://gulfoilspill.audubon.org/oil-and-birds-too-close-comfort
Project Partners info:
+ Operation Reach - Biodiesel Manufacturers and local education and community based non-profit, teaching youth how to manufacture Biodiesel, Providing Glycerin for the Soaps
+ Emily Manger Davis of Sweet Olive Soaps - 3d Generation Soapmaker and Soapmaking Extraordinaire, Emily is an expert in natural ingredients and has an encyclopedic knowledge of soapmaking techniques
+ Stretching Sky Arts Laboratory - Hao-Peng Liao is a talented ceramic artist and moldmaker. His studio is a community, education based organization, his 9th grade students will contribute to this process.
+ New team member as of this past week, Alison Radovanovic - you name it Alison has done it and brilliantly! She has a wealth of experience in the arts, strategic planning, marketing & communications and establishing productive partnerships. I am so thrilled that Alison is onboard for BirdProject and future projects!
I am so very grateful in collaborating with these talented, inspiring artists, entrepreneurs, and education based groups in New Orleans. I look very forward to working in the community and helping to reduce the impact of the Oil Spill.
Last but in no way least thank you to Benjamin Reece of Deltree Studios for filming and producing this kickstarter movie, Michael Karnjanaprakorn for his advisement and volunteering a day of his time for BirdProject, Launchpad for use of their workspace, and to Rajko Radovanovic for his enchanting images of New Orleans! See their websites here: http://www.thedeltree.com/home2/ http://launchpadnola.com/ and http://www.mikekarnj.com/
Thank you for your generous support in backing BirdProject and I look very forward to sending you your goodies. Also, one last thank you to my friends and colleagues in your contributions and collaboration on this project!! I am thrilled to launch this on Kickstarter, Merci Beaucoup!
***UPDATE: we met our kickstarter goal of $2500 in five days!! I set the funding goal at half to ensure we would make part of our costs. We still have time left to raise the full amount - for the first run of 700 birdies the startup cost is $5000 including molds, materials, packaging, and the work of all the talented people listed above. Please back us and help to meet our full goal with this remaining time on Kickstarter! Wholehearted thanks and so excited to send the birdies into the world and help environmental cleanup!
****SEE Postcard, Bags, and Washing Cloths images in update No. 6!!
Writeup by TBD!
Inclusion in Kickstarter blog!
Audubon Magazine article on Volunteers for Oil Spill:
- (30 days)