WARNER ROBINS -- Keep Warner Robins Beautiful and Flint Energies couldnt have made it easier to get rid of Christmas trees Saturday.
All residents had to do was turn off Watson Boulevard onto Maple Street, pause long enough for volunteers to grab their tree, then drive off.
As they drove away, they were given a red birch or dogwood sapling.
Its easy enough to do, and its a winning situation for everybody, said Debra Jones, executive director for Keep Warner Robins Beautiful.
Jones said recycling keeps the old trees out of Houston Countys landfill. She said giving saplings helps increase urban forestation. Using chips from recycled Christmas trees for landscaping saves taxpayers money. And the whole process allows everyone to do something good for the community and the environment.
Though old Christmas trees were accepted any time after Christmas -- and will still be taken near the water tower on Maple Street through Saturday -- only those who brought trees last Saturday got the saplings.
Jones said Flint Energies and Keep Warner Robins Beautiful have partnered together and been refining the recycling process since 1990. She said despite low temperatures Saturday, the effort produced its yearly average of 5 to 6 tons in wood chips from the Christmas trees.
She said all in all, more than 70 volunteers were involved in the project this year, including Jarrod Merriman who was among those who bundled up to help those bringing trees.
Merriman has been a part of Keep Warner Robins Beautifuls youth advisory board since he was in the fifth grade. Hes now a junior at Houston County High School.
I guess Ive stuck with it because I love being able to help the environment and the ecosystem here in our community, he said. Its a good way to help people get rid of their trees, too, and better than having people just throw them out on the street or something.
Jones said her group had about 1,000 saplings from the Georgia Forestry Commission to give away. She said those who missed the opportunity to get saplings this Christmas will have a new opportunity in February around Arbor Day when the city and Keep Warner Robins Beautiful will partner to give away saplings at Wal-Mart on Booth Road.
Contact Michael W. Pannell at firstname.lastname@example.org.