BERKELEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) — When officials at Island Beach State Park requested Christmas trees for a dune project, they had no idea they would end up with thousands of them. Now, all of those trees have led to another call for help. This time, they need people.
They brought warmth, aroma and Christmas cheer but it’s always a question: What do you do with your tree in the new year?
For several years, officials at Island Beach State Park have had their eyes on rebuilding a large, damaged dune at the southern tip of the island.
It turns out one of the best raw materials to build up a dune happens to be in ready supply this time of year.
“Christmas trees are used very similar to the way sand fencing is used,” Island Beach State Park naturalist Kelly Scott said.
A few weeks ago, the park put out a request on social media for people to drop off their old Christmas trees on Saturday, Jan. 4. The response was overwhelming.
“We identified the need for about 200 to 250 trees and we got about 2,000,” Scott said.
It turns out people were pining to recycle their trees.
“People from all over the state, Pennsylvania, people from Connecticut came down,” Scott said.
The state park got so may Christmas trees they actually started asking for volunteers to come out this Saturday and help them with the dune reconstruction.
It’s pretty simple, once people get out here, all they have to do is move the trees on the beach, trunk to tip, and then let the wind and the sand do the rest.
“The dunes are vital to the survival of the area. They are the first line of defense against coastal storms,” Scott said.
And while the state park is set for the time being on trees and volunteers to lay them out, Scott encourages people to check with their town or county for other tree recycling programs.
“Everybody has been so supportive and it’s really nice to see people giving back,” Scott said.