“I started off with just one tank that my mom bought me, and one filter, and a couple of friends who were helping me,” she said. Now the project has grown to eight tanks and over 100 volunteers.
“It feels great,” said regular volunteer Frazer O'Hara, who moved to Grand Isle from New Orleans to help out in any way that he can. “If people don’t get involved then nothing ever happens and nothing ever gets done. Every little life counts.”
At least three days a week, volunteers gather up the oiled crabs and bring them back to the visitors’ center, where they use Q-tips and mild Dr. Bronner’s soap to clean the shells. The crabs are then left to crawl across absorbent material that pulls the oil from their legs. They are then put in tanks overnight. About ten percent of the crabs don’t survive, but more than 3,500 have now been successfully released to new, uncontaminated habitat.
“It’s really rewarding,” Sarco said. “I’m going to keep on doing it until they clean up the oil and until it stops washing up on our shores.”