After the holiday season most people are forced to throw out their Christmas trees, but that’s not the case for Wah-Sha-She Lodge, chartered to the Ozark Trails Council. Instead, with their Christmas tree recycling program they collect people’s Christmas trees to have them be turned into habitats to protect fish in local lakes. Every year after Christmas, lodge members set up a tent outside their Bass Pro Shop (fun fact: the original one) in Springfield, Missouri. At the end of the week the Christmas trees are then picked up and sent off to be turned into fish habitats. These trees are dropped by boat to the bottom of lakes where smaller fish can use them as shelter from their predators. They make very efficient habitats that can have a big impact on the local environment.
Every day from December 26th until January 1st, Arrowmen wait outside to receive people’s used Christmas trees. “It gets cold, but we all just kinda have fun with it and we know we’re helping the fishes and the local wildlife,” says Wah-Sha-She Lodge Chief James Emeric. The average high temperatures for those days are usually 22 degrees but Arrowmen keep their spirits high. This event has been going on for almost ten years and each year provides new experiences for the Arrowmen willing to volunteer their time to see the benefit to the environment these trees can have.
This event also means a lot to the local community. Emeric says that “every year the local news station will do a small story on the [recycling program]. It is received well and the lodge really enjoys doing it.” To wrap things up, Emeric said, “It was pretty darn cold this year so that made it a little rough but we had people there every single day and everyone still had fun and we had some pictures of smiling Scouts, and that is what it is all about”. Wah-Sha-She Lodge knows how much of an impact this program has on the environment and how many people are willing to support it.