The Deep Horizon Oil Spill that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico almost proved fatal to thousands of birds known as the Minnesota Loon - and the official State Bird for the State of Minnesota. Because the Loons travel to the Gulf for mating purposes and are known for deep diving for their food, ingestion of the oil residue left behind after the oil spill was cause for massive concern by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Carroll Henderson of the State of Minnesota DNR joined forces with Maggie Gray during a wildlife art gallery produced by Ms. Gray at the Fifth Street Towers in downtown Minneapolis to bring attention to the plight of the Minnesota Loon.
Through local artists, monies were raised by the efforts of Ms. Gray through sales, donations and contributions from the 3-day art event to bring awareness and monies to do further research and collaring of specific Loons making the long trek south and north again to see the long-range impact that oil residue would have on the Loons. It was determined that ingestion of the oil residue would cause immediate irreparable harm or long-range ultimate fatal impact on the organs of these fragile birds shortening their life span and lowering the population of the beloved State Bird.