From: CTV News Atlantic Staff
HALIFAX — If you’re preparing to take down your Christmas tree, you may want to consider turning your old evergreen into a new home for local wildlife, rather than placing it at the curb.
“We’re recommending that people hang onto their Christmas trees for a few months and put them in their backyard,” says Kathryn Morse of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
“There are many species of birds and they need a little shelter, so if you can take the Christmas tree and put in in your backyard for the birds, and then you can decide in the spring what you want to do with it.”
If turning your tree into a backyard bird habitat isn’t an option, some organizations, such as Hope for Wildlife — a charitable wildlife rehabilitation centre in Seaforth, N.S. — will accept Christmas trees.
However, trees can provide more than shelter for animals; some farms, including the Kavanagh Family Farm in Shediac, N.B., give the trees to their animals for a spruced-up snack.
“Our goats, our sheep, our pigs, love to eat them and they’ll strip them bare, they will eat the greenery, the twigs and the bark, everything,” says farm owner Charlene Kavanagh.
Her husband, James Kavanagh, says people are often shocked to learn that the animals enjoy munching on the pine-flavoured pickings.
“Most people are surprised that they’ll actually eat Christmas trees, even I didn’t realize it until a few years ago when Charlene did some research and found out that they enjoy them,” he says.
Last year, the farm received almost two dozen trees, but so far this year, donations have been slim. The hobby farmers hope they will see a few more trees once the Christmas season has officially ended.
“A lot of people don’t take them down until New Year’s, and since New Year’s fell in the middle of the week, we might see more on the weekend,” says James Kavanagh.
Because the trees will be used as food, they note it’s important to carefully remove all decorations, including ornaments and tinsel.
Meanwhile, in the Halifax Regional Municipality, trees kicked to the curb won’t go to waste.
“We’ll pick those up and chip them and use them as mulch throughout parks and trails around the city,” explains HRM spokesperson Maggie-Jane Spray.
According to the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia, other recycling options include using the trees for garden mulch, turning branch tips and needles into potpourri, or checking with community organizations to see if they offer chipping programs.