As of yesterday, May 7, 2010, the size of the oil spill was compared to the size of Puerto Rico which is roughly 3,850 square miles. Oil is leaking at a rate of 5,000 barrels a day and the first traces of oil on land were found on the uninhabited Free Mason islands, part of the Chandeleur chain south-east of the Mississippi delta on the Gulf of Mexico. Stopping the oil from reaching land would be the best approach, but unfortunately it is unlikely and once it hits, volunteers will play an important part in the cleanup efforts. Contact one of the following organizations and arrange to give your time now.

The National Audubon Society, an organization dedicated to conserving and restoring natural ecosystems which in turn benefit birds, wildlife and their habitats, has an online sign up sheet. Your name will be passed along to state and federal agencies coordinating the clean up efforts.

Deepwater Horizon Response team asks any interested volunteers to call 1-866-448-5816 or find links for individual states here.

Help out at home by choosing a pet groomer or hair salon donating hair that will be used to make oil-absorbing hairmats and if you can not find one encourage yours to do it. To learn more visit Matter of Trust.

The Gulf Response Involvement Team encourages volunteers to sign up and stand by. Realistically the clean up will take a considerable amount of time and a potential volunteer should be aware that it may be months before they are called up. They have also posted a list of items that you candonate to assist their efforts.

Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research is seeking donations and volunteers. Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research is one of two organizations with a staff specifically trained to respond to an environmental disaster. The staff will train volunteers to work alongside wildlife veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators in onsite triage facilities.

All of the above organizations stress the importance of waiting to hear from them before you travel to the area to help. Following this simple request will help prevent confusion and frustration delaying the cleanup efforts. If you are already on the coast and come across wildlife that has come in contact with oil do not touch. Call 1-866-557-1401 and leave a detailed message.

Full story here.