Nothing livens up a home at Christmas time than a real evergreen tree, straight from the forest or a farm. But, what do you do in January when the needles start collecting in a pile on the floor?
Consider donating your tree to an animal sanctuary, such as WildNORTH, a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre. WildNORTH is collecting trees of any species until January 8, or until the organization receives 100 trees.
“What we want to do is bring some of the outside inside for them [the animals],” Dale Gienow, executive director of WildNORTH says.
He says that they have many animals “over wintering” at the rehab centre. They are being cared for in a clinical environment, but the plan is to release these creatures back into the wild. So, to make the clinical setting more “natural,” the trees are brought inside.
The trees provide hiding places and natural habitat for some of the animals, such as birds who can perch on the branches. Gienow says that the WildNORTH staff will attach cones or berries to the branches of Christmas trees so songbirds can fly in and retrieve food in a way that mimics their natural habitat. And, for the resident porcupines, the trees provide food.
Trees for donation need to be free of any decorations and dropped off at the Parkland County Rehabilitation Centre, located at 53327 Range Road 271.
You can also use your Christmas tree to create your own backyard wildlife sanctuary. Set up the tree in the backyard with feeders to attract birds and small animals, or use parts of the tree in garden beds. Chip the tree into mulch to fertilize around trees and shrubs or chop the trunk of the tree into small pieces to line the garden bed.
If getting crafty isn’t your thing then you can leave the tree outside for curbside collection. The City of Edmonton is collecting Christmas trees for recycling starting January 10 until January 24. Place the tree on its side next to your waste bins by 7 a.m. on January 10. Remove all ornaments, tinsel, garlands and tree stands, and cut larger trees over six and a half feet into two pieces.
The City of Edmonton collected 7,082 trees in January 2021 for composting.