Ian Somerhalder is so much more than a pretty face.
While the actor is accustomed to making female viewers scream on The Vampire Diaries, he went to D.C. this week with the goal of making Congress listen. The founder of The IS Foundation - which aims to "positively impact the planet and its creatures" - Somerhalder testified before lawmakers on behalf of the Multinational Species Coalition.
"Wildlife and environmental conservation has always been not just a passion, but a priority of mine," he said, hoping to raise funds for organizations that include the World Wildlife Fund, the Sierra Club and the National Audubon Society.A native of Louisiana, Somerhalder has worked tirelessly to clean up disasters in that area such as the April 2010 BP oil spill.
But he cast an even wider net in this appearance, referencing African elephants, marine turtles, tigers, gorillas and chimpanzees and saying:
"Due to instability or indifference in the areas that many of these species call home, for most of them we are the first, last, and only hope for survival. As the ones with the power to make a difference, the responsibility rests with us. It is imperative that we live up to it.
"On behalf of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation and the Alliance for Global Conservation, I urge the Subcommittee to mark-up H.R. 50 and move to reauthorize this important piece of legislation."