Olivia Bouler is an artist, a bird-watcher and now a hero.
The seventh-grader at Islip Middle School is one of 11 winners nationwide to recently receive a Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes from children's book author T.A. Barron, based on her efforts helping to raise $200,000 for the National Audubon Society and other environmental groups since the BP oil spill last year in the Gulf of Mexico.
To raise the funds, she created and donated 500 original drawings of birds and thousands of limited-edition prints, which were given to individuals who donated to wildlife recovery efforts.
"I've learned everyone can use their talents to make a difference in the world, whether it's with cancer or caterpillars," said Olivia, 12, who won $2,500 for her cause or her education. "I'm here to prove it."
Last year Olivia lobbied on Capitol Hill to support alternative energy legislation. She also has published a book, "Olivia's Birds: Saving the Gulf," a collection of watercolors and tips on being environmentally friendly. A portion of its proceeds benefits the Audubon Society.
"The best way to show young people they can make a difference is by sharing examples of what others have done," Barron said of the award.