Missouri Department of Conservation turns used Christmas trees into underwater habitats

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COLUMBIA - With the holiday season all but finished, people around Mid-Missouri have begun the dreaded task of taking down the Christmas lights and decor.

While most of the decorations head back to the basement or attic, there is one prickly house object that can make a big difference if put in the right hands. 

Boone Electric Cooperative Coordinator Matt Kemna explained how their annual Christmas tree recycling effort can benefit Missouri wildlife. 

"We give the trees to the Missouri Department of Conservation," Kemna said. "They will then use the trees as habitats for both aquatic and woodland creatures." 

Simply put, the conservation department will strategically place the coniferous trees in lakes, marshes and brush piles and so doing helps to naturally attract and stimulate the native fish and wildlife species in the area.

"With us doing a lot of line clearing every year along the power lines, we're always looking for a way to give back to Mother Nature," Kemna said. "We usually get around 100 Christmas trees a year, this is just a good way to give back to the environment and recycle these trees."

Boone Electric Cooperative's Christmas tree drop off site is located at their headquarters on 1413 Rangeline Street. The drop off site will be running until January 21. 

"We only ask that the trees be dropped off in their natural state," Kemna said. "No lights or ornaments, we need all of that to be completely removed. We don't want anything to be harmful to the wildlife in any way."

A free bag of mulch is available to those who participate.

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