Recyling project turns 13,000 trees to mulch

For ninth consecutive year, some 900 members volunteer to mulch Christmas trees for botanical gardens.

HONOLULU, Hawaii — Members of the Church on the island of Oahu volunteered time and effort Jan. 2 for a Christmas-tree recycling project, during which some 13,000 trees were mulched, to be used in botanical gardens and other planted areas around the island.

This is the ninth straight year members here have participated in this project, which is directed by the Solid Waste Management Section of the State Department of Health. This year, some 900 members from the Honolulu, Honolulu West, Kaneohe, Laie, Laie North, Makakilo, Mililani and Waipahu Hawaii stakes participated in the nearly day long event at various park and school locations on the island.

The members were responsible for publicity, setting up the sites, directing traffic, unloading trees from vehicles, removing any leftover foreign material such as tinsel or decorations from the trees, stacking the trees for the chipping machines, and cleaning the area afterward. The tree chippers were donated by the state department or by private companies and were operated by professional operators from these organizations.

"It is a project that Church members are enthusiastic about and participate in as family groups, Scout groups, youth groups and wards," said Amanda DuPont, community relations specialist for the Hawaii Public Affairs Council. "It is a great opportunity for the Church to join hands with community organizations."

In fact, young people from the Hookipa Youth Correctional Facility, where a member of the Kailua 3rd Ward works, helped alongside ward members during the project.

"The spirit of the volunteers was jovial and very friendly," said Sister DuPont, who coordinated the event, "and that seemed to rub off on the donors as they came through the parking lots. Some locations even added refreshments to liven the occasion.

"Over the last nine years, this project has brought the members together and has fostered the spirit of brotherly love and appreciation."