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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
by: Rene Abadie
SHORING UP MANCHAC -- Southeastern Louisiana University students studying environmental awareness haul recycled Christmas trees on Jones Island in Lake Maurepas last year to help reinforce the shoreline to prevent erosion. Southeastern will again collect recycled Christmas trees to help in wetlands restoration efforts.
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University will continue to utilize used Christmas trees in wetlands restoration efforts in the Pass Manchac area.
The university's Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station, located on Pass Manchac between lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas, will use discarded trees to help build up marshland, particularly the area on Jones Island in Lake Maurepas.
Turtle Cove Director Rob Moreau said this marks the 18th straight year Southeastern has conducted its recycled tree program, which in the past was supported with funds from the state's Natural Resources Program.
"For the past four years, we've had to rely mainly on volunteers and students from various service-learning courses, such as my Environmental Awareness course," Moreau said. "This spring, Dr. Janice Bossart's Conservation Biology class will also participate. Since 1995 we've deployed over 30,000 Christmas trees in the marsh on the edges of islands and land masses in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin."
Moreau said the benefits of the tree recycling program include protection against shoreline erosion, building of land to offset subsidence and sea-level rise, and creation of new and important habitats for plants and animals. He said recycling the trees also reduces waste going to landfills.
"The program is also a great way to conduct community service and environmental education from a hands-on standpoint for people of all ages," he said.
Trees can be dropped off at several area locations, including the City of Hammond maintenance facility located at 18104 Hwy. 190 East next to the Piggly Wiggly Supermarket between 6 a.m. and 2:30 p.m, Monday through Friday starting Dec. 26. In addition, Turtle Cove will collect trees at Middendorf's Restaurant on Hwy. 51 in Manchac. Before transporting the trees for drop off at either of these sites, the trees should be stripped of any ornaments, lights, tinsel or flocking.
Moreau said the Lowe's home improvement store in Hammond will again donate any unsold Christmas trees to the project.
Additional information can be obtained by contacting Moreau at email@example.com. Donations to help support the activity should be sent by check payable to "Friends of Turtle Cove" and mailed to Southeastern Box 10585, Hammond, LA 70402 or can be made by credit card by visiting the Turtle Cove web site, southeastern.edu/turtlecove.