Although Christmas is over, the usefulness of the Christmas tree doesn't have to end with the holiday.
Officials say a Christmas tree can serve wildlife as a refuge or breeding sanctuary in wooded or aquatic habitats.
"Some people put it out in a wooded area or right on the edge of a wooded area, that way mammals on the ground can use it as a habitat," said Charles Phillips, Columbia County's Extension Service agent. "Some people kind of bury it upright in the yard and hang bird feeders and suet balls and stuff like that off of it. It's thick and it kind of helps protect the birds."
The Baker Place Road Landfill accepts old Christmas trees, which will be made available to those who want to use the trees for fish habitats in private ponds. The landfill also keeps a few aside to bundle as protective habitats for small animals on the open areas of the landfill, said Don Bartles, the landfill's manager.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Thurmond Lake is accepting tree donations through Jan. 12. The trees will be bundled, weighted and suspended in the lake to attract fish.
Small trees and brush provide cover for fish, particularly as a nursery for juvenile fish. According to a corps information sheet, the trees also provide a habitat for aquatic insects, which are essential food during the early stages of most fish species.
Columbia County and Metro Augusta Clean and Beautiful once again will hold the Bring One for the Chipper event, its annual tree recycling effort with The Home Depot. The trees are chipped into mulch, which will be free to residents between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Jan. 8.
Trees can be dropped off at The Home Depot on Bobby Jones Expressway through Jan. 8. Seedlings will be passed out while supplies last in exchange for donated trees, said Stephanie Thomas-Rees, the event coordinator.
Drop-off locations for the Corps of Engineers around Thurmond Lake are Keg Creek Boat Ramp, Scotts Ferry Boat Ramp, Cherokee Boat Ramp and Amity Boat Ramp; and in Evans at Riverside Middle School at 1095 Furys Ferry Road. Augusta Concrete Block Co. will provide concrete anchors for trees at the Scotts Ferry and Cherokee locations.
The Baker Place Landfill, at 590 Baker Place Road in Grovetown, is open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. It will be closed New Year's Day.
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