Evergreen Endowment

December 21, 1993

A family of our acquaintance happens to live in Baltimore City but has developed this tradition of shopping for their Christmas tree in Glen Burnie. The actual purchase of said tree is preceded by a meal at some neighborhood greasy spoon. (This year, they happened to have lunch at a place in Ferndale that was packed with folks calling one another "hon" and had a radio blasting country music. Felt almost like home, family members said.)

Christmas tree shopping can be a serious business. The choices among different types of firs and pines are many. In recent years, the shopping has become even more complicated because trees are sold with root balls still attached so they can be replanted after the holidays.

Last year, a dozen Anne Arundel families donated their live, balled Christmas trees to a program run by the state Department of Natural Resources called Tree-Mendous Maryland. After the holidays, the trees were replanted along Aris T. Allen Boulevard to beautify that road near the U.S. 50 interchange.

Trees are being accepted again this year for the "Christmas Grove." We urge residents to participate in helping the environment and their community at the same time. Donors should call DNR's Terry Galloway in advance at 974-3776 to make arrangements and to ensure they know how to care for their living tree. It's important not to keep the tree inside too long -- probably 10 days at the maximum.

"This is the ultimate in recycling a Christmas tree," Ms. Galloway said. "It gives you happiness. It will give others happiness."

Alas, there are also some environmental Grinches around. They steal evergreens for their personal use from along roadway medians or the Baltimore-Annapolis Trail Park. To combat these thieves, rangers armed with portable pumps have sprayed trees with a non-toxic liquid made from sheep bones. When warmed inside a home, the tar oil makes the trees smell like burning tires.

Dozens of red and white signs along the trail and medians warn people that the trees have been sprayed. The effort seems to be working. Only a couple of trees have been stolen in recent years from among 500 that have been treated.

Surely, when it comes to Tannenbaums, 'tis better to give than to receive tar oil.

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