Before you throw away a live Christmas tree, consider donating it to become a natural habitat for wildlife.

Now that Christmas is over, you may be wondering how to get rid of that once-beautifully decorated living tree. In years past, you probably threw it in your lawn or landfill, but did you know you can donate it to the Wildlife Department?

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Division, donated live Christmas trees could be repurposed as habitat for Ohio’s terrestrial and aquatic wildlife, birds, fish, and small mammals. The trees are tied together and weighted so they sink to the bottom of the lake, attracting fish and providing shelter.

Look at this interactive map to see the lakes that these donated trees will end up in.

In addition to donating your tree, the Wildlife Department suggests creating a wildlife-friendly brushwood pile with your recycled tree as the centerpiece:

Place the tree in the chosen location and fold the branches around it in a square, overlapping more tassels until the desired height is reached. Top with an extra brush to create a unique and valuable small animal sanctuary. Songbirds, including cardinals, chickadees, chickadees, nuthatches, and wrens, travel through and out of bush mounds in search of food, nesting, and escape from predators. Small mammals such as rabbits and chipmunks also use bush piles to hide and raise their young. Heaps of bushes are also a valuable refuge for overwintering insects such as bees, moths and butterflies.

Department of Wildlife

Here in Northeast Ohio, the Mahoning County Green Team is harvesting trees from designated planting sites through January 31, 2023. Call 330-740-2060 for more information on where these drop off locations are.

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