SANTA CRUZ — Friends of Lighthouse Field, a group of Santa Cruz dog lovers, has taken on the task of collecting hair and fur from local hair salons and dog groomers to help clean up the oil spilling off the Gulf Coast.

The operation was put together by the San Francisco organization Matter of Trust, said Friends board member Zee Zaballos. The organization has recruited volunteers to assist in the oil clean up and has asked the Friends to send all the hair and fur they can gather to Mobile, Ala. Volunteers on the Gulf Coast will take the hair and fur they receive and turn it into booms and floating mats by stuffing the hair into nylon stockings. Then they will send the hair and fur “sponges” to the cleanup site.

“Hair and fur works very well,” Zaballos said. “You know how you have to use shampoo for your hair because it gets oily? It’s a natural process that the hair just soaks up the oil. And it’s a great resource because it’s natural and it would all be getting swept up and thrown away anyway.”

Friends of Lighthouse Field is collecting hair from Le Salon Cruz and KatWalk Salon and Spa, and collecting fur from dog groomers at Shampoochez, and Bed and Biscuits, Zaballos said.

“We put a call out and they were very eager to donate their hair and fur,” Zaballos said. “We have scheduled days that we come and pick up the hair and fur so all they have to do is save it for us. We box it up and ship it out.”

Hair salons and groomers are happy to do their part in the oil cleanup.

Terrie Love-it, who works at Shampoochez, will give their dog fur over to the Friends on Tuesdays and Saturdays during this month, she said.

“We’re very happy to donate all our fur,” Love-it said. “It’s a great cause, it’s biodegradable and we certainly have a lot of it.”

Matter of Trust plant o keep a close eye on the cleanup and adapt their project accordingly, Zaballos said.

In addition to their dedication to the Santa Cruz dog community, Friends of Lighthouse Field works to maintain the coastline and is a big supporter of Save Our Shores, she said.

“We all have to share our coastlines and it’s our responsibility to care for them,” Zaballos said. “This is really a great way to make a difference.”

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