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Donate Christmas trees to wildlife at MDC Central Regional Office drop-off site

Recycling Christmas trees can help improve fish and wildlife habitat in central Missouri.  

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites Missourians to drop off their cut Christmas trees to be used for habitat improvement around central Missouri. MDC will accept trees at the Central Regional Office any time of day through the end of January.

To donate your tree (real trees only), please remove all decorations, and bring the tree to the drop-off site at the MDC Central Regional Office located at 3500 E. Gans Road in Columbia. Signage at this location will direct donors to the proper drop-off spot at the edge of the parking lot.

MDC fisheries staff collect discarded natural trees to submerge in area lakes and ponds. Once submerged, these trees offer habitat for a variety of native fish species.

“Submerged Christmas trees make great underwater cover for smaller fish and aquatic invertebrates,” said MDC Fisheries Biologist Brian McKeage. “Larger fish then congregate around these structures to prey on fish and other food sources, so these trees become hotspots for fish and for anglers.”

Instead of tossing your tree to the curb this year, donate it to MDC to improve fish habitat in central Missouri. Your discarded Christmas tree can provide one more lasting gift to wildlife and humans who will have improved opportunities to discover nature through fishing all year long.

Trees may also be dropped off at city mulch sites in Columbia or may simply be placed under bird feeders in your backyard to provide cover for birds and other wildlife.

For more information, call (573) 815-7900, or visit the MDC Central Regional Office during normal business hours.

MDC works with you and for you to sustain healthy forests, fish, and wildlife.

A man wearing MDC uniform drags 3 Christmas trees across ice on a winter day.

MDC Fisheries Management Biologist Brian McKeage drags recycled Christmas trees across the frozen surface of Columbia’s Cosmo-Bethel Park Lake. Donating your natural Christmas trees to MDC this winter will provide the gift of habitat to native fish species, and help anglers discover nature all year long. MDC will accept trees at its Central Regional Office in Columbia until the end of January.

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