(ABC4) — Christmas is over and sometime within the next couple of weeks, it will be time to put away the ornaments and say goodbye to the pine tree that has lit up your home throughout December.
But these trees can still serve a purpose.
“Putting used Christmas trees back into a natural environment helps provide a viable habitat for many wildlife species, including songbirds, small mammals, and reptiles,” Aaron Bott, Conservation Outreach Manager at the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said.
According to the Division of Wildlife Resources‘ blog, there are several things you can do with your tree to help local animals this winter. Here are some ideas:
Make a Christmas tree for birds: Move your tree outdoors and decorate it with food that birds can safely eat. Some examples are sliced apples and oranges, cereal tied in net bags, strings of popcorn or cranberries, or peanut butter and nuts mashed into pinecone crevices.
This idea isn’t only fun for the birdsm- you get to enjoy hours of bird-watching throughout the winter.
Provide shelter: Prop up your Christmas tree outside in a snowbank or lean several trees against a clothesline to create a lean-to. Birds can shelter inside the branches during snowy weather. This idea can help animals in neighborhoods that don’t have many trees.
Habitat for aquatic life: If you have a body of water such as a pond or stream on your property, consider submerging your Christmas tree. The branches make a good habitat for fish, birds, and insects. Christmas trees can also be used to divert streams and rivers from eroding their banks.
Create a brush pile home for wildlife: Brush piles can provide escape cover, nesting sites, and dens for a variety of small animals. They are ideal for large yards since it shouldn’t be too close to your home, as it could attract skunks and snakes.
This idea requires several Christmas trees. Stack the trees in a grid pattern on top of each other. Brush piles need to be at least five feet tall and 12 to 15 feet wide to provide adequate shelter for most wildlife. Visit the blog for more information on how to build brush piles.
Donate your tree: Drop off your tree at the Department’s Price Office at 319 N Carbonville Rd, Suite A, or at the Desert Lake WMA parking lot between Dec. 25 and Jan. 10. The trees will be used to make shelters and habitats for small animals. Fake trees will not be accepted.
Local zoos and wildlife sanctuaries may also accept used Christmas trees.
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