You may watch my weather reports on the weekend or catch my Living Green segments on WBTW News 13. Every week I will now share a eco-friendly story with you in Surge. I'm Lindsay Milbourne a meteorologist and reporter originally from Chicago. I really enjoy the South and have spent the past year-and-a-half living in Myrtle Beach and working for News 13. My green segments are a great way to go out and get to know people in the community and share ways to help the environment. I've learned a thing or two about going green and try to do my part too.
Christmas Tree Can Still Serve a Purpose
It's a tradition that dates back to the 16th Century - decorating a live Christmas tree. After the holiday, the tree is often gotten rid of, but within the last 10-to-15 years many trees also serve another purpose - an attractor for fresh water fish.
"They're available in bulk, at certain times of the year so that's why we use them," says Fishery Biologist Elizabeth Osier.
Elizabeth Osier and others at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources collect old Christmas trees from recycling centers all around the state and use them to enhance fish population in still fresh water bodies such as Lake Wallace and Lake Ashwood in the Pee Dee.
"We basically take the tree itself and put a weight on the bottom of it, on the bottom of the trunk and then sink it vertically so that its standing up and creates a vertical structure in the water column," says Osier.
Osier says clustering the trees helps to create complexity for the fish environment and also helps local fisherman catch more fish if they can find exactly where the grouping is.
"If somebody wanted to do this in a lake in their backyard they need to be a little more careful about how they're doing this so they don't create a hazard to navigation to boaters," Osier says.
Osier suggests using a durable material that is not harmful to the environment to weigh down the tree so that it's at least four feet under water. She says anchoring down a Christmas tree in a nearby river is not a good idea.
"Because it's not likely to stay in one place," she says.
Another popular way Christmas trees are recycled is by grinding them up into mulch. Grinding of the Greens is a free way for Horry County residents get rid of their tree and also help the environment. Osier says which ever use your Christmas tree is put to, it's the recycling of it that counts.
"It's definitely better for the environment on so many different levels," says Osier.