Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Straw "Christmas Trees" help clean up the Gulf

Thanks to everyone who sent in great stories about how recycling farm-grown Christmas trees gives back to nature and helps the environment. You can see some examples of these on this NCTA web page http://www.christmastree.org/recycle.cfm

Now, a common Christmas tree related machine is helping Gulf Coast residents clean up and protect natural resources from the oil spill. When you buy your farm-grown Christmas tree, most places will put the tree through a netting machine to make it easier and safer to transport home and set up. They are using one of those machines and donated netting to bail up straw instead of Christmas trees. The tubes of netted straw absorb encroaching oil and protect shoreline. Here's an excerpt of an email we received from Steve Mannhard, a Christmas Tree farmer in southern Alabama, who has donated the use of his netting machine.

First, to the folks at Kirk Company, on behalf of residents of Baldwin County, AL on the Gulf Coast, particularly residents of the Josephine Community, which is across Arnica Bay from Orange Beach, Perdido Bay, and the Gulf, we send a giant THANK YOU for the generous donation of netting you promptly donated to the cause of making these unique booms made of hay and Christmas Tree netting. The project was successful in the construction, and we await yet another oil invasion into Perdido Bay from the Gulf to test it. The volunteers making the boom increased their efficiency from some 8 boom sections per hour to well over 50 per hour by using the Kirk baler that I donated to the cause and the netting. The resulting sausages of boom will be deployed as a barrier of last resort once the oil invades the back bays again. It can be deployed quickly, absorb the oil, and be replaced quickly, so the folks are ready with a homemade product to protect their marshlands, inlets, and fragile beaches.

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