DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Five Rivers MetroParks leaders are encouraging people with real Christmas trees to not throw them out, but instead to recycle them. Over the past few years, Five Rivers Metro Parks Regional Conservation Manager Grace Dietsch and her team have been collecting these trees and sinking them into Eastwood Lake to improve aquatic life.

“By sinking these tree structures and bundling them up, sinking them into known locations throughout the lake, it’ll help attract fish into these structures because it creates good spawning areas, which will then attract larger fish, which then also becomes great angling opportunities for people who like to fish,” said Dietsch.

The program is in partnership with The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. 

Dietsch said the first time they collected Christmas trees was in 2019, acquiring nearly 750 trees to sink into the lake. The goal this year is to collect anywhere from 600 to 800 trees. However, Dietsch says the trees must be real and cleaned. “No tinsel no ornaments or anything like that,” she said. “Don’t wanna introduce any harmful chemicals into the environment.”

Then once the trees are all collected, they’ll be sunk. Dietsch says Five Rivers MetroParks doesn’t do the sinking, but instead, the division of wildlife comes and sinks them in bodies of water throughout Southwestern Ohio.

The tree collection will run from December 26 to January 16. However, Dietsch says there will be a pause on New Year’s Day. The goal will be to sink the trees on January 19 weather permitting. For anyone wanting to recycle their tree, Dietsch says people can drop them off at Eastwood MetroPark (lakeside) at 1401 Harshman Road.