How you can help Louisiana’s wetlands with your old Christmas tree

How you can help Louisiana’s wetlands with your old Christmas tree
People are being encouraged to recycle their Christmas trees to help build up eroding wetlands. (Source: WAFB)

HAMMOND, La. (WAFB) - This Christmas, Southeastern Louisiana University is once again asking people to give a gift to the environment by dropping off their discarded Christmas trees to be used for wetland restoration.

“We can put the old Christmas trees to work in our area marshland while also reducing the waste stream going into landfills,” said Rob Moreau, manager of SLU’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station, located on Pass Manchac between lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas.

The school says even though state grant funding for the program ended years ago, many local partners have come forward with donations to keep the project, now in its 25th year, going.

Each year, volunteers and students deploy the discarded trees into the Manchac wetlands. The school estimates about 40,000 trees have been put into the wetlands since the program started.

The trees are used to help build up marshland that has been impacted by erosion and other factors, Moreau says. The trees are used in a variety of ways, including to fill logging ditches, to create “mounds" to serve as wildlife habitats, and to help control erosion on shorelines.

The project provides hands-on educational opportunities for students, the school says.

For the fifth year now, the Southeastern Sustainability Center is collaborating with the university and serving as a drop-off point for people to bring their discarded Christmas trees. Other partners include the City of Hammond, Middendorf’s in Manchac, and a Christmas tree supplier located in North Carolina.

DROP-OFF LOCATIONS & HOURS

  • Southeastern Sustainability Center: 2101 N Oak St., Hammond - 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 to 10 a.m. on Friday (Jan. 6 through Jan. 31)
  • Hammond Maintenance Facility: 18104 Hwy. 190, Hammond - 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Jan. 6 through Mardi Gras)
  • Pennington’s Hardware and Screenprinting: 407 Hwy. 22 W, Madisonville - normal business hours (Jan. 6 through Mardi Gras)
  • Middendorf’s Restaurant: 30160 Hwy. 51, Akers - normal business hours (Jan. 4 through Mardi Gras)

No flocked trees will be accepted. All trees should be stripped of ornaments, lights, tinsel, stands, nails, screws, etc.

“This greatly helps our efforts to get the trees quickly deployed,” Moreau said.

Those with questions can email Moreau at rmoreau@southeastern.edu. Click here for more information. Donations to support the project can also be sent by check to Friends of Turtle Cove, Box 10585, Hammond, La., 70402. Donations via credit card can be made online here.

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