News: Recycled Christmas trees help reinforce dunes at Fort Macon
Story by Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - With 2013 underway, Atlantic Marine Corps Community residents aboard Cherry point recycled their Christmas trees to benefit the Crystal Coast environment.
On Jan. 7, AMCC teamed up with Cherry Point’s environmental affairs office to collect more than 70 recycled Christmas trees from two drop-off locations aboard the air station and delivered them to Fort Macon National Park where they are being used to help preserve the beaches and dunes from erosion.
“Not only do these trees help as a wind block, but the trees also help build new dunes,” said Paul Branch, a park ranger at Fort Macon National Park. “The trees we receive from the AMCC residents and the local community help ensure the survival of Fort Macon.”
Branch said this effort has been going on since 1964 and uses more than 1,500 trees annually to fortify the dunes.
Park rangers strategically place the trees to catch blowing sand. Over time, the trees are covered with sand and become part of the dune. Each year, park personnel stack more trees in the same areas, helping to build up the dunes. Eventually, nature takes over. Wild vegetation begins to grow to further build the dune’s strength.
Dixie Johnson, the strategic marketing manager for AMCC, said AMCC supported this project because it is a great way to give back to a supportive community and help the environment.
“This project goes along with our recycling project and also helps clean up the environment,” said Johnson. “We have been working on getting more information on the importance of recycling to our residents. By recycling their trees, (residents) ensure the rebuilding of a landmark that many visit.”
Erosion from hurricanes has had a significant impact on the Fort Macon area. Projects like these help ensure its preservation, said Branch.
“The project helps ensure a better tomorrow for the community.” said Branch. “The service members who donate to this project ensure that it continues to work year after year.”
Residents who still have a tree and wish to donate it to the environment should place it on the curb on trash day, said Johnson.