Local scouts recycle Christmas trees

Scout Zach White drags a tree to the awaiting chipper. -
Scout Zach White drags a tree to the awaiting chipper.
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MARYSVILLE For a while on Saturday, at least near the baseball fields, Jennings Memorial Park smelled an awful lot like a pine forest.
At times, in fact, when the wind was blowing, the very sky seemed to be raining bits of pine trees and pine needles.
The reason for all the above was the annual Christmas tree recycling project put on by five Marysville Boy Scout troops in cooperation with the city.
According to Troop 80 Assistant Scout Master Peter Koths, this is the 17th year Marysville Scouts have collected the trees which, for a short time, covered with shiny bulbs and lights, graced living rooms or family rooms all over town.
Now, turned into mulch with the help of the Scouts and a city wood chipper, they will continue to serve at least a partly decorative purpose when, in the spring, the already mentioned mulch is spread around city parks.
Koths helps organize the collections and with his wife, Donna, has volunteered for the event for several years.
Weve been out here in snow, freezing rain and hail, Peter Koths said.
Its actually kind of fun, said Troop 419 Scout Zach White, 12. He was helping near the chipper in Jennings Park, unloading trees from cars and trucks as they pulled up to the drop off point. The trees were then fed to two city workers, who in turn fed them to the chipper.
Troop 84 Assistant Scout Master Dean Lechlider estimated there were at least 100 Scouts helping with the community service project. A few were near the chipper like Zach, while many more, with the help of volunteer parents along with their cars, trucks and trailers roamed the streets of Marysville picking up trees that had been left curbside.
Besides Troops 80 and 419, other troops involved were 81, 82 and 84.
Incidentally, being near the chipper seemed to be the place to be, at least from the Scouts point of view.
We get to mutilate trees without any consequences, said Scout Ryan Travis, 15, of Troop 419.
Its definitely better by the chipper, if its not real windy, said Zach, who like others noted being near the chipper can mean pine tree bits in your hair, clothes and so on.
Ryan has been a Scout for about five years. Hes been involved with the tree collection for roughly the same number of years.
I really dont know, Ryan answered when asked why he stayed involved with scouting. Its just a way of life for me now, I really enjoy it, he added.
Charles Lechlider, 14, knows exactly why he is committed to the troop his father helps lead. In short, he wants to become an Eagle Scout.
It helps you get a better job, helps prepare you for the rest of your life, he said.
Koths said the city initially asked local troops if they could help somehow with the problem of getting abandoned Christmas trees off the streets. Obviously, the various troops agreed and never looked back, Koths added.
Now, the city and troop leaders get together once a year and pick a day for the annual collection.
The citys been great, working hand-in-hand with the troops in the area, Koths said.
Prior to the collection, Scouts distribute information about the recycling to homes all around Marysville. Residents are invited to leave their trees on the curb on a certain date.
Come collection day, each troop is responsible for picking up trees from various assigned areas of the city. Residents also can come to the collection point and drop off their trees themselves.
Nobody is really sure how many Christmas trees get recycled through the Scouts efforts. Koths and the elder Lechlider figure the number has got to be in the thousands. Koths has seen the pile of chippings grow to 50 feet in diameter and reach about 15 feet high.
The troops and the city provide the service for free, but donations are encouraged and welcomed.
It definitely helps boys get involved with things they normally couldnt afford to do, Koths said.
Lechlider summed things up nicely.
Its just a fun day, he said.

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