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|SOUTHEASTERN ROUNDING UP CHRISTMAS TREES FOR MARSH RESTORATION
HAMMOND – Taking the time
to haul your Christmas tree to a recycling site after it has done its decorating
duty will turn an annual disposal chore into a good deed, according to
Mars Stouder, marsh restoration coordinator for Southeastern Louisiana
University’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station.
The tree that brightened
your holidays can help rebuild fragile marsh areas that were battered by
Louisiana’s catastrophic hurricanes, said Stouder, who heads Turtle Cove’s
annual Christmas tree collection program.
Stouder said that with
the assistance of the city of Hammond and Waste Management, tree collection
sites have been established this year at Hammond’s old recycling center
on West Coleman Ave. and at Ponchatoula High School and Sumner High School
in Kentwood. Trees will be accepted from Jan. 1-7, he said.
“We really appreciate the
support from the schools,” he said. “The teachers have been encouraging
their students to participate in the recycling project. We also want to
thank (city streets superintendent) Buddy Rigdel, who has been a big help
“We lose a lot of marsh
every time a storm comes in,” Stouder said. “Every year thousands of Christmas
trees are discarded in landfills where they take up valuable space and
serve no purpose. If these trees are brought to one of the collection sites,
they will be used to protect our coast and our wetland areas. The trees
also help fight erosion and establish animal habitats extremely well.”
Southeastern has been participating
in a Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Christmas tree marsh restoration
project since 1992. Approximately 4,000 trees annually are placed in the
Pass Manchac area in locations such as Jones Island and the Prairie.
The trees are used to construct
brush fences that reduce wave energies and allow the capture of suspended
sediment. Stouder said the trees are also useful in the preservation and
enhancement of habitat for wetland animals such as ducks.
“We can only accept real
trees without flocking, plastic wrapping or ornaments,” he said. “Please
bring your trees where they will do a great service for us all and keep
them out of the already crowded landfill.”