Southeastern to continue Christmas tree recycling program
Contact: Rene Abadie
HAMMOND – With in-kind reliance on business and government partnerships, Southeastern Louisiana University’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station this year will continue – on a reduced scale – its Christmas tree recycling program that helps shore up area eroding wetlands.
With no state funding available for the program for the second consecutive year, the program again will depend upon a combination of private donations, assistance from volunteers and area businesses and some remaining one-time funds from a related restoration project, said Turtle Cove Manager Robert Moreau.
Two collection points have currently been identified, Moreau said. Christmas trees can be left at the City of Hammond’s maintenance facility at 18104 Hwy. 190 East, next to the Piggly Wiggly Supermarket from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday any time after Christmas. In addition, Turtle Cove will have a trailer in the Middendorf’s Restaurant parking lot on Highway 51 in Manchac, where residents can leave trees any time after Jan. 3.
Moreau said the Lowe’s store in Hammond again has volunteered to donate any leftover trees to the recycling program.
“We appreciate our partners in this effort: the City of Hammond, Middendorf’s and Lowe’s,” he said. “Without their assistance we would be unable to continue this program, which has served as a valuable resource in our efforts to rebuild marshlands in the Manchac Swamp area.”
Used Christmas trees, when deployed along marsh shorelines, collect sediments and allow for grasses to grow into and around them, thereby creating a “Christmas tree level” that bolsters the shoreline and helps prevent erosion from wave action.
Moreau added that by recycling the trees, residents are also doing their part to limit the amount of refuse going into landfills.
Trees should be bare, free of any ornaments, lights, tinsel or flocking. Later in the spring, the trees will be placed on the shorelines of West Jones Island in Lake Maurepas using community and other volunteers and students from Moreau’s biology class in environmental awareness.
Turtle Cove has participated in the Christmas Tree Recycling Program for more than 15 years, having deployed approximately 30,000 trees during that time on Jones Island in Tangipahoa Parish and another 6,000 trees in the “Prairie” in St. John the Baptist Parish on the western Lake Pontchartrain shoreline, all under the direction of long-time coordinator of the project Fred “Mars” Stouder, marsh restoration and education/outreach coordinator for Turtle Cove.
Moreau said he continues to explore opportunities to partner with various businesses and government agencies that might be able to help fully financially support the program long term.
“If no new sources of funds are found, this may be the last year we can operate the program,” he said.
For additional information or to make a donation to support the project, contact Moreau at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations should be sent by check payable to “Friends of Turtle Cove” and mailed to Box 10585, Hammond, LA 70402.