It’s Christmas in July: How Your Christmas Trees are Restoring the Coast
By Taya Fontenette
, Outreach Intern
For over 25 years, New Orleanians have contributed to the restoration of their coastal ecosystem by taking part in the city’s annual Christmas tree recycling program. This year, the City of New Orleans’ Office of Resilience and Sustainability, in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Louisiana Army National Guard, conducted the city’s annual Christmas Tree Drop on April 26th. About 4,000 bundled trees were collected by contractors from the Department of Sanitation and subsequently sorted and airlifted by the Louisiana National Guard into the Bayou Sauvage Urban National Wildlife Refuge.
The National Guard collects the tree bundles and places them into strategically placed cribs in the marsh. The placement of the tree cribs aims to minimize wave action, slow erosion, and trap sediment to create new habitats for birds, fish, and other wildlife residing in the refuge. Bayou Sauvage is one of the few remaining marsh areas alongside Lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne, and the area provides a variety of habitats for wildlife, including hosting approximately 340 bird species throughout the year. Over the years, the project has helped restore more than 175 acres of land in the Wildlife Refuge. The National Wildlife Federation and Restore the Mississippi River Delta observed the training and provided volunteers with lunch from Duong Phuong Catering.
The recycling of Christmas trees is a wonderful opportunity for communities to participate in recovering the coast. Every year, thousands are able to participate in tree recycling programs organized by various parishes and organizations in the region. Keep a look out for the upcoming collection dates and make a contribution towards coastal restoration next year!