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Eco-friendly disposal of trees available

An eco-friendly alternative is available for residents who are ready to dispose of their natural Christmas trees.

Mark Garner, federal wildlife biologist for the Conecuh National Forest, said last year’s tree disposal service provided the organization with more than 15 trees for placement in local water systems.

“We had good feedback last season and we hope to once again collect between 15 to 30 trees to use as fish habitat in some of our ponds,” he said. “We’d like to add structure to Open, Ditch and Buck Ponds and we have three more in mind if we receive enough trees.”

Garner said that the project improves the ponds in several ways, boosting the ecosystem for the ponds’ residents while improving the catch at the popular fishing holes at the same time.

“By placing the trees in the shallow water, we give the smaller fish a place to hide out, in turn, the larger fish are attracted to the area hoping to eat the little ones as they dart in and out so it will be a good spot to fish from the bank,” he said. “Adding the trees also improves water quality and diversity by giving aquatic vegetation and algae a place to grow and that feeds the fish, too.”

Garner asks that all decorations be removed from the trees before they are donated, including as much tinsel as possible.

“Anyone who is interested can call our Andalusia office near the elementary school at 222-2555 to make arrangements for drop-off,” he said. “If we have enough people who really want to help, we may be able to make a list and arrange to pick up the trees if they can’t drop them off.”

Gary Pichea, superintendent of landfill and recycling for the city of Andalusia, said Andalusia residents can also bring trees to the city landfill for disposal or have them picked up from their home.