Group gives new life to unwanted trees

Submitted photo Joined by Main Street AmeriCorps members and staff from Tammy’s Floral and Delmonte Market, the Emma Scott Garden Club pitches in to fill 16 baskets with greenery for holiday decorating in downtown Elkins. Shown here, from left, are Garden Club members Barbara Heasley, Patricia Mayes and Judy Guye Swanson.

ELKINS — Anyone looking to retire an artificial Christmas tree this holiday season is welcome to donate it to a special Elkins Main Street committee, which is collecting unwanted trees.

Each year when the holiday season approaches, the Elkins Main Street Seasonal Decorating Sub-committee works to bring cheer to downtown Elkins with festive decorations.

Committee member Bobbi Trimboli said Doug Starcher was instrumental in getting the ball rolling on this project and in helping to get things accomplished in an economically efficient way.

“What we did the first year — three years ago — was ask people in the community to donate their old, artificial trees so we could use the pine to make the baskets,” Trimboli said. “The first year we had a nice donation of greenery, and we were able to use that for two years. But because of weather, this year the greenery was looking shabby.”

Starcher said anyone who decides to buy a new artificial tree may want to donate the old one. The committee would be happy to make use of the recycled trees.

“We break the trees apart and use the old pine to fill the baskets downtown, but the sun is hard on them, so after a year or two years, the pine starts to look a little worn,” Starcher said. “We replaced a lot this year, but some of it will even need to be replaced next year.”

He noted it takes approximately six trees to fill the baskets that are hung from light poles downtown.

“It takes 400 lights to light each one of the baskets,” Starcher said.

Volunteers work to prepare the hanging baskets by stuffing and shaping them, and after city employees hang the baskets, the lights are then added, Starcher said.

Starcher and Trimboli noted trees without lights are preferred, but any donation is appreciated.

Starcher said garland also is being collected to be used as material for the baskets.

Anyone who wishes to donate used trees is urged to contact the Delmonte Market in Elkins at 304-636-4400.