Recycle your Christmas tree

If the needles on your Christmas tree are beginning to turn brown and litter the carpet, don’t worry—it can still find a useful home at one of the county’s forest preserves.

As in past years, the Champaign County Forest Preserve District will allow local residents to drop off their live Christmas trees for recycling. Trees may be dropped off at three forest preserve locations in the county, including Lake of the Woods, through January 20.

Trees may be dropped off inside the maintenance entrance on Route 47 at Lake of the Woods (follow the green sign).

Trees can also be dropped off at the maintenance building at Middle Fork River Forest Preserve in Penfield and in the maple grove area at Homer Lake Forest Preserve in Homer. The latter location is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, but the other two are available for drop-off around the clock.

The Forest Preserve District repurposes the trees in two different ways. Some trees are sunk in the park’s lake to provide habitat for fish. Fish use the trees for spawning, as well as to hide from predators. Other trees are chipped and placed around plantings throughout the district’s nearly 4,000 acres of forest and parkland.

This year, CCFPD is also offering trees to homeowners for use in private lakes and ponds.

All decorations must be removed from the trees before drop-off, so leave your tinsel and red ribbons at home. CCFPD does not accept artificial trees. More information on tree recycling is available by calling 217-586-3360 or visiting www.ccfpd.org.

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