When it comes to Christmas trees, a lot of people still favor tradition over cost and convenience.
Despite a rainy day Saturday, the annual Bring One for the Chipper event at Central City Park in Macon drew significantly more people than last year. Pam Carswell, president of the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission, said 195 vehicles came through Saturday, compared with 145 last year. In more than 20 years the group has put on the event, she said participation has remained steady and there does not seem to have been any big swing to artificial trees.
Whitney Waters was among those who brought in a tree. She likes having a live tree, she said.
“I like the way it smells, and growing up we always had a live tree,” she said.
The vehicles coming in included large dump trucks filled with trees picked up at drop-off locations around the city. Georgia Power provided five grinders and operating personnel through its contractor, Trees Inc.
“The whole purpose of this is to keep trees out of the landfill,” Carswell said.
The Riverside Optimist Club provides volunteers to assist with getting trees off vehicles, the Boy Scouts bag up the mulch, and the Georgia Forestry Commission provides northern oak and dogwood seedlings to give to anyone who brings a tree. For the first time in a few years, Fickling & Company also provided Yoshino cherry tree seedlings. People can also stop by and get a free bag of mulch.
Karol Kelly, Bibb County extension agent, handed out information on the best methods of planting and care for each type of seedling.
Kevin Barkley, director of solid waste for Macon-Bibb County, said the alternative to recycling is for all of those trees to go into the inert landfill, which is still a landfill and costs money.
“It sends a good message to everybody about recycling and the options we have,” he said.
Glenn Heald, a retiree who has white hair and a long white beard, naturally spends most of his Christmas season playing Santa Claus. As a Riverside Optimist Club member, he traditionally finishes off the holidays by helping grind Christmas trees.
“This is my last event of the year,” he said. “Although I can’t turn off being Claus the rest of the year.”
Warner Robins is having its Christmas tree recycling event, The Great Christmas Tree Round-up, Jan. 10 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The trees will be chipped for mulch at city parks and some will be dropped into lakes for fish habitat. People coming to 151 Maple St. on Jan. 10 will get a free seedling but trees can be dropped off any time before then.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.