Trade a tree for a tree through Oakland County Parks

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published December 27, 2019

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OAKLAND COUNTY — The presents have been unwrapped, the cookies have been munched, and Santa has returned to the North Pole for some much-needed R and R.

It’s also time, unfortunately, to bid farewell to O Tannenbaum before it dries up into kindling.

If you trimmed a real tree this season, the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department and the Oakland Conservation District hope you’ll consider hauling your used tree to the car instead of the curb to be recycled at a county park.

“Our goal is to just try to make more people aware of the tree recycling program and encourage them to bring their tree out (to be recycled) instead of just putting it out with the trash to go into a landfill,” said Patrick Costello, the chairman of the Oakland Conservation District board.

Through Jan. 26, 11 of the county’s park locations will host free recycling of Christmas trees. Plastic, tinsel and wires must be removed, and of course, the tree needs to be real.

“We grind them up into wood chips and lay them down to create nice walking paths through various parks,” Costello explained. “It keeps the weeds down and creates a nicer environment for everyone to enjoy.”

Dan Stencil, the executive director of the county parks system, said the program isn’t as popular as it was when they first began accepting trees around 30 years ago, but he’s hoping a little promotion — and maybe some incentive — will do the trick this time around.

“People are choosing artificial trees over naturals more and more, but people who bring the trees out feel like they’re doing something good for the environment,” Stencil said. “And the Oakland Conservation District provides a seedling for anyone who says they recycled their Christmas tree.”

Costello explained that each year during the OCD’s spring tree and shrub sale, the nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser, he provides seedlings — no questions asked — to whoever says they recycled their tree at the county parks.

“It really is our responsibility to replenish trees that we’re losing to oak wilt and other things,” he said. “Trees are so valuable to our existence. And these days, you’re hearing a lot about the negative things (people) are doing to the environment. Let’s focus on some of the positive things we can do.”

For more information about the Oakland Conservation District’s annual tree and shrub sale, which will take place 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, May 2, at 1580 Scott Lake Road in Waterford, visit the group’s website at oaklandconser vationdistrict.org.

To drop off a tree for recycling, follow the signs for Christmas tree recycling sites at the following county park locations:
• Addison Oaks County Park, in Rochester.
• Catalpa Oaks County Park, in Southfield.
• Glen Oaks Golf Course, in Farmington Hills.
• Groveland Oaks County Park, in Holly.
• Independence Oaks-North County Park, in Clarkston.
• Lyon Oaks County Park, in Lyon Township.
• The Oakland County Farmers Market, in Waterford.
• Orion Oaks County Park, in Orion Township.
• Red Oaks Golf Course, in Madison Heights.
• Springfield Oaks County Park, in Davisburg.
• White Lake Oaks Golf Course, in Waterford.

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