“It’s not a national program, it’s a local, state program,” said Keep Bartow Beautiful Director Sheri Henshaw, referring to Bring One for the Chipper being created by Keep Georgia Beautiful. “The main purpose of it was to keep a lot of the yard waste out of the landfills because that was a law that was passed by the state of Georgia. They wanted to keep that out.
“It can be composted. It can be utilized in other ways. ... [Since it] started 20 years ago, [the program] has grown and grown. There’s an estimated 5.9 million live Christmas trees [that] have been diverted in that 20 years.”
Since about 2006, the recycled trees have assisted the fish habitat project at Lake Allatoona, which fosters species diversity while enhancing fishing for anglers.
While recycled trees are being submerged around various jetties at Lake Allatoona, Bartow’s contribution this year will be centered on the Bethany Bridge area.
“[Fishing jetties] are actual land that was created to go out into the lakes so bank fishermen could fish from,” said Jonathan Wise, natural resource specialist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Allatoona Lake Project. “All of our fish attractor sites, where these Christmas trees go, go in those areas. What the purpose of them is, is of course, to provide habitat for the smaller fish.
“[The trees provide] safety areas so they get the chance to grow and multiply. ... So then the bigger fish come in, like the crappie and [others], and they’ll feed on the smaller fish and then the largemouth spotted bass will come in and feed on the bigger fish. So it’s just kind of that chain reaction that these trees provide the starting point for.”
Area residents, who want to help improve the lake’s fish habitat, need to deliver their trees to one of 11 collection sites — 40 Allatoona Dam Road, Cartersville; 1408 Burnt Hickory Road, Cartersville; 48 Industrial Drive, Cartersville; 15 Cedar Creek Road, Cartersville; 684 Center Road, Cartersville; 1214 Taylorsville Macedonia Road, Taylorsville; 212 Stamp Creek Road, White; 3285 Pine Log Road, Rydal; 4792 Joe Frank Harris Parkway, Adairsville; 638 Hall Station Road, Kingston; and 281 Hardin Bridge Road, Cartersville.
For the fish habitat effort, Keep Bartow Beautiful is partnering with Bartow County Solid Waste, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Georgia Forestry Commission’s local office, Georgia Department of Natural Resources — Fisheries Division, Cherokee County Boy Scouts, city of Acworth, Marietta Bass Masters, Red Top Mountain State Park and area volunteers.
For more information about Christmas tree recycling, call Keep Bartow Beautiful at 770-387-5167 or visit its Facebook page.