Cooling Cleanup Volunteers

Kohler Rental, a Kohler Co. business, is providing temporary power and air conditioning services to wildlife rehabilitation centers located across several Gulf Coast States. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, a bureau in the U.S. Department of the Interior, established these wildlife M*A*S*H units following the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill that has been occurring in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana since April.

Included in Kohler Rental’s support effort is Fort Jackson Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, an epicenter of bird rescue and cleaning operations located in Louisiana’s fringe coastal area south of New Orleans. Established in Buras, LA, this rehabilitation center plays a crucial role in the effort to rescue, clean, and ultimately save the lives of hundreds of brown pelicans and other native bird species exposed to pools of crude oil floating on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.

Helping wildlife caretakers combat heat and humidity, Kohler Rental has brought in portable air conditioning (AC) equipment, as well as power generators to run the AC units and power the equipment used to clean the birds. Including additional wildlife rehabilitation centers and temporary housing for volunteers and workers located in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi, Kohler Rental has been called upon to deploy nearly 30 high capacity air conditioners and power generators in support of Gulf oil spill cleanup efforts.

“The men and women rescuing, cleaning, and nursing pelicans and other birds back to health in Gulf Coast states may not know Kohler Rental is onsite. And we’re not running the wildlife rescue camps. However, the people who do operate the rescue centers reached out to Kohler Rental and it’s our mission to climate control the rescue camp and deliver additional power. By providing a more comfortable working environment, Kohler Rental helps keep workers at their best throughout the countless hours spent caring for the helpless birds,” said Mike Nasif, general manager, Kohler Rental.

If found and rescued in a timely manner, oil coated birds have am extremely high survival rate after receiving care at bird cleaning camps such as Fort Jackson. Upon arrival, each bird is given a physical and time to de-stress. Removing a bird’s oil coat involves meticulous scrubbing with household dishwashing detergent, followed by a rinse and dry. Prior to being released into wildlife refuges located away from the Gulf, birds at Fort Jackson are placed in outdoor aviary pens, referred to as Pelican Island, for observation, recovery, and rehabilitation.

(Bottom photo courtesy of Clearwater Wildlife Sanctuary)