In these days after Christmas, as we carefully separate wrappers to go in the recycling bin, just remember that even your real pine tree can be sent away to be recycled instead of going in a wood chipper, especially if you're in West Virginia and Kentucky. 

Several agencies in West Virginia have teamed up for a Christmas tree recycling event aimed to get people to turn in their trees of Christmas past and turn them into something worthwhile for the future: to rebuild fish habitats in the area's lakes and rivers.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that it will be accepting trees stripped of all their festive decorations and tinsel, along with Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan (REAP) and West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR), on Jan. 2 at the Capitol Market in Charleston from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The trees will be repurposed for the fish in Stonecoal Lake, Burnsville Lake, Big Ditch Lake, and Tygart Lake.

Kentucky is also initiating a Christmas tree recycling drive to help rehabilitate Cave Run Lake which the Kentucky's Division of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) has been trying to improve for fishing for the past two years. 

In addition to old trees that would otherwise end up in a trash heap, KDFWR is also accepting donations of wood pallets, tree stumps, root wads, and even other trees of the non-Christmas variety.

Real Christmas trees that need to be disposed of are certainly in abundance this post-gift-giving season. Why not help give back to the environment and to the fish as well by recycling that old pine tree into something good? These trees serve as nesting homes for small fish and invertebrates which, in turn, larger fish prey on.

In addition to the warm, fuzzy feelings you will get for helping rebuild fish habitats with your old tree, recyclers in West Virginia will have extra treats to look forward to when they hand in their Christmas trees.

People who donate their trees will also be eligible to enter a raffle for several prizes: a ski vacation at Winterplace Ski Resort, golf at Canaan Valley Resort, a one-night stay at Chief Logan State Park, or gift certificates to Capitol Market.

Photo : U.S. Department of Agriculture | Flickr

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