Southeastern staff, students, volunteers to continue Christmas tree recyling program
Contact: Rene Abadie
HAMMOND – While the state may have discontinued funds for Christmas tree recycling this year, that’s not stopping Southeastern Louisiana University staff, students and volunteers from pursuing the program that’s been successful in helping to limit coastal erosion in the area.
Robert Moreau, director of Southeastern’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station on Pass Manchac, said with the help of volunteers, such as community groups and students and some possible donations, a portion of the historical marsh restoration program will continue, at least this year.
Two Christmas tree drop-off locations will be used. The City of Hammond is offering its maintenance facility located at 18104 Hwy.190 East, next to the Piggly Wiggly Supermarket; trees can be dropped off from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday any time after Christmas until Friday, Jan. 14. Middendorf’s Restaurant on Highway 51 in Manchac will provide space for a Turtle Cove trailer in front of the popular restaurant where residents can drop trees at any time starting Dec. 27. Moreau said the Lowe’s store in Hammond will also donate any leftover trees on their lot to the program.
“We appreciate the generosity of Lowe’s donation as well as the city and the folks at Middendorf’s for making their locations available to serve as recycling locations,” Moreau said. “They recognize the importance or recycling whenever possible. It means less refuse for the landfills while providing a great, inexpensive means for sediment collection and marsh buildup to prevent erosion of shorelines in lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain.”
“Trees should be free of any ornaments, lights, tensel or flocking,” stressed Fred Stouder, Turtle Cove’s marsh restoration coordinator. “We want just bare trees.”
Moreau said the Turtle Cove team will place the trees in nearby Jones Island on Lake Maurepas using students in his environmental awareness course next semester in a service-learning project. He is also recruiting community groups, K-12 classes, volunteers and participants in field trips to Turtle Cove to assist in the project.
Turtle Cove has participated in the Christmas tree recycling program for 15 years. Approximately 2,000 trees have been placed annually in the Pass Manchac area to combat erosion.
Additional information or to make a donation to support the project can be obtained by contacting Moreau at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations should be sent by check payable to “Friends of Turtle Cove” and sent to Box 10585, Hammond, LA 70402.