Thursday, January 20, 2011

Restoring Wetlands

We received an email recently from someone at the Environmental Defense Fund containing links to a 3 part series of online articles outlining how they use post-harvest, farm-grown Christmas trees to restore and preserve coastal wetlands in Louisiana and Alabama.

They are very good, so we wanted to share them.

Our three most recent posts have discussed the ways that real and artificial Christmas trees could be recycled for use in wetland protection. In the series, titled "Gifts That Keep On Giving", we examined past programs and described some innovative new ways that trees could be put to use in "green" activities after the holidays.

Here are the links to the three articles:

Part I:
Part II:
Part III:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back to the Grind and Back to the Earth

We received this great email just before Christmas vacation:

From: J.N.
Sent: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 3:20 PM
Subject: Re: Fake Trees...

I read the christmas tree debate on your website and was mortified about what I learned regarding fake trees!!! Since a kid, my family ALWAYS bought fake trees...after the holiday, we'd store it in it's box and re-use it the following year. I'm now an adult and haven't had a tree in over 5 years, so this year I bought another fake pre-lit tree, about 4.5 feet tall. I never read about fake trees until now. It's disturbing to know that they have chemicals in them that can cause cancer...kinda makes me want to go home and throw out the one I have now (and i don't even like the stupid's not full..i added my own decorations and it's still has too many spaces in between)! Now knowing what I know, I'll get a real tree next year.

I was never really interested in a real tree because I always heard as a kid that you have to water it everyday because if it dries out, it can cause a fire... something like that. I also heard the pines fall off and just make a mess! When I used to put trees up, I'd let it stay until Jan. 3rd. This one is coming down and going in the trash on Dec. 26th!!!! So now you're telling me I have toxins all throughout the air in my house...gee just great..think I'll keep this from my sister (who lives with me, also an adult), until AFTER I take the tree down!!!!! I figure I spent 20 bucks on the stupid thing so I may as well keep it up until after xmas.


Thanks for sharing Jennifer. Yes, there are lots of crazy myths and misperceptions out there about Christmas trees.

Check out the photos from the tree lighting in Riga, Latvia. Here’s a note from the U.S. Embassy in Latvia
I am happy to tell you that yesterday we participated in the opening of the Find Yours! Project organized by Riga City Council. There are 25 countries/embassies participating in the project, and each country has its own Christmas tree. However, American Christmas tree is special due to our participation in the Christmas Tree Exchange project, as you know! Our PAO Amy Storrow was representing the U.S. Embassy during yesterday ceremony and giving the American Christmas tree as a gift to the city of Riga. Here is the link where you can view the pictures we took :
Tatjana Savranska
U.S. Embassy
Public Affairs Section

What a great celebration!

So in the final phase of following our “farm to home to recycle” tree, I recycled my tree this past week. Read earlier blog entries to learn about the The Rocks Tree Farm in New Hampshire where the tree was planted, raised and harvested. After it brought me enjoyment in my home this past holiday season, I took about an hour total out of my schedule to take the tree to be recycled. Here’s a series of photos showing this process.

Here's the tree after being taken outside my house. You'll notice a few things I'd recommend as tips. First, it's a good idea to let the water in the stand be absorbed the last few days or removed...the less still in there the better. Second, I use an old blanket to make carrying and transporting the tree easier and less messy.

I just wrap up the tree like a piece of sausage, then removed the stand.

Into my car it goes.

And I drive down to one of the parks where trees can be dropped off for the mulcher. You can see trees and piles of free mulch in the background. The program where I live is run by the St. Louis City Parks & Rec Department.

And back to the Earth it goes. The farm will plant another one this Spring, this tree will decompose and break down into it's component compounds and return nutrients back to the Earth.

The cycle is complete.