How to Help

The past few days we’ve posted a lot about what not to do during spill response. Today we’d like to share a few ideas for how you can help.

The best way to help is to get involved before a spill happens. I know, a little late for that, right? Well as we know, it’s not a matter of if a spill will occur, but rather when. Hopefully the Refugio Incident will be the spark that inspires you to join our network BEFORE the next spill.

The OWCN works through the utilization of a large Network of Member Organizations. Our responders join one of our Member Organizations and volunteer with them during non-spill times, gaining valuable hands on experience with wildlife. Affiliates of our Member Organizations also have access to our training program, which includes both online and in-person training opportunities.  When a spill occurs, we activate these pre-trained volunteers first, since they have received an education in spill response, and come to us ready to help.

If you would like to join the ranks of our responders, you will want to volunteer with one of OWCN’s Member organizations. You can find more information on our website at and take a look around, or go directly to our Member Organization page by clicking here.

The second thing you can do is donate.  Typically, costs associated with oiled wildlife response are paid by the party responsible for spilling the oil. However, the OWCN does accept donations for oiled wildlife care and rehabilitation activities – any gifts we receive will be used to prepare for oil spills in the western United States and internationally.  Alternatively, donations to the Wildlife Health Center at UC Davis can be used to support the various programs housed at the Center. If you are interested, please click here to learn more and to donate.

At this time, the OWCN has all of the in-kind donations needed for spill readiness. However, please consider donating materials like this to your local wildlife rehabilitation center and/or local OWCN participant organization.

You can also support your local wildlife rehabilitation organization. During spills, the responsible party pays for the clean up costs, including wildlife. However, local wildlife rehabilitation organizations that help us out during spills, have to operate with their non-oiled wildlife year round. Supporting wildlife rehabilitation ensures that we have a robust Network during spills. Again, head over to our website to see our Member Organizations which can individually accept donations!


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