Sunday, December 27, 2009

Recycle Your Christmas Tree

What are you going to do with your real Christmas tree after the holidays are over? I know that most communities offer curbside pickup of Christmas trees to their residents and I think that's a good option but not the only option. At least not where we live.

Christmas trees that are picked up curbside are turned into mulch. The mulch is then used in parks, at public buildings, and even given to residents of the community. I like this option because it keeps trees out of landfills and because the trees get recycled. But what if you don't want to recycle your tree just yet? I'm not talking about keeping it decorated and standing in your family room until Memorial Day, but about another way to keep it around for just a little while longer.

How about putting your tree in your backyard? After removing all the ornaments, lights, and garland, simply move it to your backyard where it will provide cover for birds. Deciduous trees lose all their leaves in the fall leaving nothing but bare branches for birds to cling to. While bare branches make it easier to see the birds, it does nothing to keep them sheltered from winter storms and to hide them from predators. The birds will take to the new tree in your yard and you can even decorate it with bird seed, popcorn, and cranberries which the birds will love. You may even find that birds you've never seen before stop by for a snack.

So these are really great options for your Christmas tree but if you live in the Chicagoland area there's another really creative option that I read about this weekend. Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn will take your tree off your hands and use it in their animal habitats. How cool is that?

Willowbrook Wildlife Center is an education and wildlife rehabilitation center located just outside of Chicago and is operated by the local forest preserve district. There are many animals on exhibit there and although I've never been there (that darn no dog rule), Mom has and loves it there. Among the many animals that call the Center home, the birds are Mom's favorite. There are permanently disabled bald eagles, songbirds, and even owls there along with many mammals such as foxes and raccoons. Some 80 native Illinois species live there and educate the public seven days a week. Animals that can be rehabilitated are nursed back to health and then released back into the wild.

The Center is looking for 30 Christmas trees to place into habitats of permanent and temporary residents. The trees will not only provide cover for the animals but also stimulation. The trees' new smells will provide a sensory feast for the animals. Some animals may just break off the branches and that's okay because this too is stimulation. Keepers may also hide food in the trees to arouse the animals' natural foraging instincts. This same practice is used at the zoo when scents are scattered in exhibits. Captive animals need to be enriched on an almost daily basis and the trees will do just that for them. Even wreaths and garland are being accepted. These will be used in the indoor songbird exhibits.

This is such a great idea that I'm asking you to check to see if there is a wildlife rehabilitation near you that will accept your tree. If there is, please consider taking your tree there. The rehab facility will appreciate it and you could probably visit your tree throughout the winter where your new friends will be enjoying it.


Tweedles -- that's me said...

Hi Stubby
We will put our tree in our forestry back yard and put popcorn. peanut butter and bird suit on it.
Birds love it every year when we do this. All you suggestions are wonderful.

Stubby said...

Hi Tweedles! I'm so glad to hear that you take care of the birdies with your tree. I'm sure they love all the foodables that you leave for them and then you get to watch the eat. How fun! Please take pictures of the birds on your tree for everyone to see.

Stubby xoxo

Salinger The Pug said...

Hi Stubby! Great tips as usual! They grind up Christmas trees into mulch at the park where we have the Indy Pug Meetups! I'd say it's a safe bet that Stubby walked on part of a Christmas tree when he was here in July!

Mom is "recycling" ours by stuffing them back into the boxes for next year!


Pee S. Our word verification is "foreskin" (I am NOT joking)! WTF???

Stubby said...

Hey Salinger! It's great to know that I probably walked on ground up Christmas trees. I'm sure I peed on them too, huh?

We never even got our tree up this year. Mom just couldn't get with the program despite the fact that I offered to help several times.

Stubby xoxo

Pee-s: WTF is with the word verification? How can they use that word?

Deborah said...

Hi Stubby:
I always put my tree out in my backyard and I sprinkle bird food on it! Then it in the spring, I drag it deep in the woods!
Have a good day! I never new they turned trees into mulsh! That is a good thing!

Stubby said...

Hi Deborah! You are so smart! I bet the birds really love all the food you put on the tree. By dragging it into the woods come springtime, you are providing the Earth with much needed nutrients. Kudos to you for doing the right thing!

Stubby xoxo

Paula said...


What great suggestions for recycling Christmas trees your Mom has put on your blog. We so love to come visit here and read all the fabulous ideas.

Paula w/ Bandit, Paisley, & Smokey

Brutus, Ellie, Pippa and Otto said...

We love the suggestions to recycle Christmas trees...We have an artificial tree, so mom just packs it back into the box for next year :)

Pugs & Kisses,

Yoda & Brutus

Stubby said...

Hi Paula & gang! I'm so glad you like visiting my blog. Thank you so much for visiting and for being my friend.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Yoda & Brutus! An artifical tree that goes back into the box is great because it means it will be used again next year. At least you got yours up this year because ours is still in the box. Hope you had a great Christmas!

Stubby xoxo


Hi Stubby,

We have really enjoyed all your Christmas posts, they are great and we can't wait to see what you will be up to next year.

Luv you,
Riley and Star.

dw said...

Hi Stubby, I don't have a Christmas tree that can be used outside....mine is a three foot plastic tree -- yeah, adds a whole new dimension to that tree in the house confusion! That Willowbrook Wildlife Center looks great! It must be kind of near College of DuPage, huh?

THE PUGLET said...

Hey Stubbs~

Thanks for reminding everyone to recycle. When my human lived in a place called Mississsomething, the people there put their xmas trees in a lake to make homes for fish and, uh... maybe turtles?

Today we planted my weird leafless tree in one of my favorite parks :)

Stubby said...

Hi Riley & Star! I'm so glad you liked my Christmas posts. I just never know what I'm going to post from day to day so stay tuned.

I'm so glad I got to know you guys last year. I look forward to following your adventures this year.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi dw! Mom told me that she doesn't know where the College of DuPage is so she doesn't know if it's near Willowbrook Wildlife Center. You should plan a little trip out there in the spring because Mom tells me it's awesome.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Puglet! Your human sure has lived in a lot of different places. I've never heard of Mississsomething before - is it a cool place? I'm thinking that putting trees in lakes does provide habitat for fish, turtles, beavers, muskrats, etc. If Willowbrook Wildlife Center gets more than 30 trees they give them to the forest preserves to put in their lakes.

That is so cool that you planted your weird leafless tree in your favorite park. Now you can visit it and water it daily!

Stubby xoxo

dw said...

Hey Stubby, I looked up Willowbrook Wildlife Center, and it's in Glen Ellyn, right? If that's the one, it's about a half mile from College of Dupage. Whatever, yeah, in the spring it would be nice to plan a trip out!!

Stubby said...

Hi dw! It is in Glen Ellyn. I'm not surprised that Mom didn't know it was by the college because she is too busy looking for birds when she drives!

Maybe you guys can meet up out there in the spring. Mom always checks their wish list before going so she doesn't show up empty handed.

Stubby xoxo