Justin is a junior at Twin Valley High School and he is very heavily involved in the Ag Department there. All students at Twin Valley must do some sort of graduation project and for Justin, who recently won a forestry contest, it only seemed natural that his project would deal with forestry and wildlife.
So how does one recycle a Christmas tree? Justin plans to make very large brush piles on his property and on his friends' properties. These brush piles will help animals in the winter, providing them with shelter and warmth. The piles of Christmas trees also help to stop the ground from eroding-something that can also negatively effect the wildlife.
Taking your Christmas tree to Justin is also very important because if Justin has your tree, than a landfill doesn't. Most people just throw out their trees after the needles start causing a mess a month after Christmas. When that happens, the tree ends up in a landfill. An old Christmas tree in a landfill does nothing to help the environment, but could potentially harm the environment by causing a landfill to become full more quickly.
Justin is a member of the FFA, a national organization that encourages students to become involved in everything from forestry to marine biology to farming. Part of the requirements for Justin as a member of the FFA is that he keep a Conservation Record Book. He keeps track of all the different animals he sees, where he sees them and other such facts. Creating brush piles from the Christmas trees will also add
to his experience in observing wildlife. Later, Justin will have to write a paper on his experience with recycling the trees and the effects it had on his local ecosystem.
Ron Frederick, a teacher in the Ag Department in Twin Valley, along with his wife Renee, are advising and helping Justin with this project. Ron, or "Fred" to the students, first started getting his students involved with Christmas tree recycling more than 15 years ago. Last year there were almost 300 trees brought to be recycled and the number seems to increase each year.
Justin is very hopeful that there will be a large turn out this year as well. The drop-off sites for Christmas trees (on the above dates) are Martins' Country Market, Robeson Elementary School, and Stoltzfus IGA. Justin thinks everyone should drop off their tree because its "easy, it helps the animals, and it's just a really good thing to do."