People from all over the country have contributed to Children of the Spills.  Check out these maps to explore where these stories are coming from and how they are connected to specific places. 

Alaska Map (Areas in Prince William Sound, Cook Inlet, and Kodiak Island affected by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill)




Explore the stories that young people have shared with Children of the Spills. 

Read more: People


Like whales resurfacing in calm waters, certain ideas and topics come up across many stories.  Here you can explore some of the most common themes that emerged from interviews with young people in Alaska affected by oil spills.

Read more: Ideas

Welcome to Children of the Spills

Children of the Spills:

A Project to Share the Stories of Young People Affected by Oil Spills


Children of the Spills is a year-long oral history project with young people in Alaska who grew up in communities affected by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill and with children in Gulf Coast states who are now impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  By empowering young people in “oiled communities” to share their memories, stories, and childhood artwork, this project strives to both broaden the public understanding of the long-term affects of oil spills and to assist communities as they work to protect and support their children growing up in the wake of an oil spill. While every spill is different, the experiences of families in Alaska that weathered the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill could be useful to many families now affected by the changes that the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill has created in the local ecology, economy, and culture. Ultimately, this project seeks to explore the ways that dramatic changes to the surrounding environment shape young people and the communities that they live in.  The stories will be published through web-based media and presented during community conversations in the affected areas.


The project is underway!  Over twenty oral history interviews have been conducted with young Alaskans in Cordova, and more interviews have been scheduled in other coastal Alaskan towns and villages throughout the fall.  In early spring 2012, the project will travel to communities in coastal Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and possibly Florida.  Children of the Spills will work with local schools, youth programs, and service providers to gather the stories of elementary, middle, and high school students affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  The age of participants will determine whether stories will be gathered through semi-structured interviews, class/group conversations, or guided art projects. 


Generous support from The Ocean Foundation, Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council, Cook InletKeeper, Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, and many local individuals have provided the funds needed to begin the project. Children of the Spills is currently seeking further funding to support the project’s efforts in the Gulf States.


I was a toddler at the time of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, and I grew up in a family and community directly affected by the spill, clean-up, and litigation. Motivated by an on-going commitment to prevent such a thing from happening again, and my parents’ refusal to allow me to feel helpless, I graduated from Bowdoin College in 2009 with an environmental studies degree focused on marine ecology and a visual arts degree focused on photography and public, community-based art. In recent years, I have devoted myself as an environmental educator working with primarily elementary students in California, Alaska, and Maine. My personal memories of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill combine with my experiences working with young people and my academic background to inspire and equip me to successfully complete this project.