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PRESS RELEASE: (Missouri Department of Conservation) — 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, 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 to 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 stop in to the MDC Central Regional Office during normal business hours.