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Point out the Gulf of Mexico and tell your class about the 2010 oil spill. Give each emerging ecologist a large bird feather. Have them make observations about it and then predict what would happen if it were to be placed in oil. Have them dip it into vegetable oil and make more observations. Finally, provide soap to help them clean it off. Discuss how the soap removed the oil, but also that it would affect the animal's natural waterproofing oil and how this would impact the birds' lives.