RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
All right. The holiday season is coming to an end. And sadly, that means Christmas trees will soon be coming down. The question is, what do you do with them?
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
Well, Bill Ulfelder, the executive director of The Nature Conservancy in New York, says there is one place you do not want your Christmas tree to go, and that is the landfill.
BILL ULFELDER: In the United States, we buy about 35 million Christmas trees every year. It just takes up space.
CHANG: There are other options. In Ohio, for example, old Christmas trees are lined along riverbanks to prevent erosion. In Kentucky, Rangers sink trees in streams to help fish.
ULFELDER: It's a way to create some structural habitat. The surface starts growing algae, so fish come there to eat.
MARTIN: This isn't a new idea. Ulfelder says he saw similar uses as a kid in Massachusetts.
ULFELDER: When we would go to the beach, you could see all these old Christmas trees in the dunes, you know, preventing sand erosion and keeping the dunes intact.
MARTIN: And in New York City, Ulfelder says there's mulch fest.
ULFELDER: The parks department basically just runs all of the Christmas trees they have through chippers. Then what they're doing is laying the mulch down in the city parks.
MARTIN: But the most innovative way of getting rid of Christmas trees is probably in Colchester, Vt. The Pine Island Community Farm will take your old tree and feed it to its goats - circle of life and all.
(SOUNDBITE OF CYRUS CHESTNUT, GARY BARTZ ET AL.'S "O TANNENBAUM")
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