COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - "It's heart wrenching to see oiled wild life," Brad Cornell of the Collier Audubon Society says.
When the first pictures out of Pensacola hit the airwaves Thursday, Cornell's phone started ringing.
"I think we all want to help. It's sickening to see these creatures basically doomed."
Cornell says people have been coming to him in droves, wondering how to help. Some even contemplating getting in their cars and heading to the panhandle to get to work.
"The word from the Coast Guard, BP and other organizations, Audubon, is don't go if you haven't been called and and assigned a task," Cornell explains. He's even received warnings from federal organizations that people may get turned away. Agencies state it will be counter productive for people to show up unannounced.
You must have extensive training to handle animals covered in oil. Cornell says that stems from the Exxon Valdez spill years back. Many volunteers who helped clean birds covered in oil got sick.
But, that doesn't mean locals that want to help have to sit idle.
The Audubon Society, along with many other local agencies have put together a task force to work with threatened shore birds here; because, it's almost as important as helping the ones covered in oil elsewhere.
"We want to make sure they have a good nesting season here, because we know many of them are going to die in the northern Gulf, and this is going to be a big hit," Cornell tells me.
The task force goes out every weekend in Lee and Collier County. If you want more information on how to sign up you can email Cornell at email@example.com or sign up at volunteerflorida.org, or audubonofflorida.org.