The Glen Cove Beautification Commission hosted their annual Chip-A-Tree program at Saturday, providing residents with an opportunity to end the holiday season in an earth-friendly way.
Between 9 a.m. and noon, volunteers recycled old Christmas trees so the chips could be used as garden mulch for the Adopt-A-Spots throughout the city.
“This is a more immediate and effective way of recycling,” said Program Supervisor Bill Byrne. “It’s great because this [the mulch] gets reused for the spring.”
Locals willing to brave the cold drove into the parking lot one after another with trees of all sizes. Volunteers helped remove them from the cars and placed them in a neat line in front of the large chipper, provided by the City of Glen Cove.
All participants received a new sapling upon the recycling of their tree. In fact, they had their choice of three types: White Pine, Bald Cypress, or Colorado Blue Spruce.
The Chip-A-Tree event is over 20 years old, and attracts about 120 people each year.
Commission members mentioned many benefits to recycling a tree, as opposed to putting it out for the garbage men.
“It takes a long time to decompose a tree like this,” said Byrne. “If you put it out for the garbage, it will go into the landfill. It just sits there, and takes up space.”
In addition to being kinder to the earth, Rita Demmler believes there is an even bigger reason people should participate in this particular event: “to take part in the comradery and see what they can do for Glen Cove.”
Resident Mirna Garcia chose to come down with her Christmas tree because she felt it would be better for the environment.
“I thought it was a great idea to recycle,” she said. “I never knew what to do with the tree other than put it in the trash.”
The presence of baked goods and other treats are one sure way of knowing it is a Glen Cove Beautification Commission event. This year, the Commission, in conjunction with King Kullen, had hot cocoa, warm cider, coffee and cookies available for those who participated.
In addition to luring in the public with food, the Glen Cove Beautification Commission has found many ways of encouraging residents to participate in their programs. These include newspaper listings, Web posts, e-mails and press releases to name a few.
Ms. Garcia said she found out about the event when her seven year-old daughter brought home a flyer from school.
Now, the Commission has their own Facebook page. Updates, environmental tips and photos can be found more quickly and efficiently for those interested in joining the Commission, or participating in future programs.
“We really try to get people involved,” said Byrne. “It’s tough, it’s volunteer work, you’re spending your Saturday morning in the cold, but you really have to want to be involved. It comes from the heart.”