STEPHENVILLE (December 29, 2015) – Four men braved the cold this evening to collect the Christmas trees that Stephenville residents donated for recycling. Quentin Noel, Robi Kunkel, Will Rose and Eugene Ray loaded and transported Christmas trees for over two hours in the forty degree weather at the Jaycee Optimist Park. Each Christmas tree donor received a ruellia, or Mexican petunia, for donating their tree.
“Kind of the point of me getting involved was giving a live tree for a dead tree,” Kunkel said. “Trees help the community.”
Kunkel, who works for Heavenly Landscape and is one of the founders of this event, has been donating the plants for all ten years of this tradition. In the past, donors received trees to plant at their home, but, after requests to change it up, Kunkel chose Mexican petunias this year.
The Christmas tree donation began when Kunkel was a boy scout unit commissioner and was looking for service projects for his boy scouts so they could continue to work to become Eagle Scouts. He originally worked with Drew Wells to coordinate the event.
“You have to have a certain amount of service hours to be an Eagle Scout,” Kunkel said. “That’s the highest honor in the boy scouts.”
The majority of the trees will be placed in Lake Leon to improve the habitat for the fish there. The others will be recycled by the City of Stephenville.
“[The trees] are a place for the fish to hide in and, once you put the trees in, they will get algae on them,” Ray said. “The minnows will come and feed on the algae, and the fish will eat the minnows.”