Just before Christmas, my son and I are plagued with the same dilemma that I’m sure a lot of other families are faced with. We pride ourselves on taking care to protect our Earth and the environment at large. We recycle, drink from refi llable water bottles and walk instead of drive whenever we can.
Despite all of our “green going” efforts however, we still cannot pull ourselves away from buying and dragging home a real Christmas tree ... every year. We love the smell of fresh pine throughout our home, love the beautiful lush leaves that hold ornaments handed down throughout the years, the glow of the colored lights greeting you as you open the door. We buy these beautiful little saps with ever increasing guilt that once the New Year is upon us, we will have no choice but to discard it.
A burly trash man will carelessly toss it into a garbage truck and haul it to the city dump, where it will sit forlorn, knowing that its best days are behind it. My son and I have active imaginations.
So this year, I was thrilled to hear about the “Grinding of the Greens” a Christmas tree recycling program run jointly by the PWC, Progress Energy, the City of Fayetteville and the Cape Fear Botanical Garden.
Every January since 1994, these companies have gotten together in an effort to encourage NC residents to recycle their live Christmas trees. Employees from each organization come together after Christmas and grind the trees into mulch for use at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden off of Hwy 301 N.
PWC acts as the coordinating agency in the effort, coordinating the marketing and operations of the event. Because of these efforts, each year thousands of trees have been put to good use at the garden rather than being sent to local landfi lls. (Wheew!)
Beginning Christmas Day through January 7th, area residents are invited to drop their live Christmas trees off at the designated grinding area at Cape Fear Botanical Garden. The grinding event typically lasts about one hour, with most trees ground by 9 a.m.
“Grinding of the Greens is a neat event that ensures people’s “recycled” Christmas trees are put to good use in the Garden,” said Carol Fleitz, Director of Horticulture and Facilities. “We use the material as mulch, which seals in moisture and provides nutrients to the Garden’s plants.”
The health of our area’s plants and trees has been the focus of the Cape Fear Botanical Garden staff since 1989, when a few Fayetteville gardening enthusiasts shared a grand vision. They believed our community should — and could — have a botanical garden of its own. Led by community members Bruce Williams, Martha Duell and Roger Mercer, these enthusiasts came together and established the Friends of the Botanical Garden. The Garden was conceived at Martha Duell’s kitchen table, in the print of Roger Mercer’s gardening column, and with the cajoling, laughing, and crying of dozens of committed supporters and volunteers.
Cape Fear Botanical Garden serves this region as a center for: Enrichment, inspiration and enjoyment of nature; The collection, culture and aesthetic display of plants; Encouragement of environmental stewardship; Conservation, education and research; The preservation of our agricultural heritage; And engagement and involvement of the community.
Go and visit them this holiday season or anytime, Monday through Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. Their general admission is $6.00 (Military and AAA receive a $1 discount) Children ages 6-12: $1, Children 5 and under: free. For more information, be sure to visit www.capefearbg.org or the PWC’s website www.faypwc.com
Photo: Mulch from recycled trees is used to better the community.