(WSVN) - He calls himself a “Bird Nerd,” but one Weston teen’s passion for birds is serious business in the world of wildlife conservation.
Oskar Garcia: “I’ve always had a fascination with birds. It’s been a key part of my life.”
Oskar rescued his first bird when he was just 4 years old. Then, when he was 6, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, killing and crippling an estimated one million birds.
Astrid Garcia, Oskar’s mom: “He was devastated. He saw the pictures, you saw the images of the birds all covered in oil, and he was beside himself. He just wanted to know what can we do, what can we do?”
With help from his classmates, Oskar collected 169 bottles of Dawn dish washing liquid.
The donated soap was used to clean birds covered in oil.
Oskar Garcia: “People that I didn’t know, they all wanted to help the cause. Yes, it was just nice to see that I had a voice even at such a young age.”
Oskar discovered his voice for change and his talent for art. He started designing T-shirts when he was 7. When he was 11, a bird calendar project earned him more than $1,000.
He took all the pictures himself and donated the proceeds to Pelican Harbor Seabird Station, which rehabilitates then releases sick and injured wildlife.
Sarah Curry, Pelican Harbor Seabird Station: “He brings his passion of wildlife combined with his passion for making art and provides a really unique way to support Pelican Harbor.”
Now at 16, Oskar is Pelican Harbor’s youngest major donor, giving more than $14,000 over the past six years.
Sarah Curry: “That’s a significant amount of money for someone at that age or any age to contribute, I’m sure, so we’re so thankful for his contributions, and it’s literally saving lives.”
Now, Oskar has a new fundraising project for the Seabird Station. He has designed a line of pelican gear and is selling it online.
Astrid Garcia: “His designs can be customized into anything you want and all the profit goes to Pelican Harbor. Several people have approached him to match the profit that he makes, so hopefully he’ll get matches for those so that his donation is significant to Pelican Harbor.”
The Seabird Station is closed to the public right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the work to treat and save South Florida’s native birds continues.
Oskar said he’s making it his mission to help.
Oskar Garcia: “You need all the organisms to keep balance, and it’s a beautiful thing for everyone to enjoy.”
That’s why he’s on a mission to help, so future generations can enjoy birding in the future.
You can learn more about Oskar’s work here.
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