Sprucing things up: Old Christmas trees become new homes for injured animals

With the season of giving coming to a close, a Nova Scotia wildlife rehabilitation centre has found a resourceful way to recycle Christmas trees and extend the warm spirit of the holidays.

See Full Article

The Hope for Wildlife Society in Seaforth, Nova Scotia is asking locals to donate their retired evergreens to help provide shelter for injured and orphaned animals living at the centre.

“For the special trees that haven’t been treated, it’s actually food for our porcupines,” the centre’s founder, Hope Swinimer, told CTV Atlantic.

Swinimer and her team of volunteers have nursed injured animals back to health for nearly two decades at the centre, located about 40 minutes east of Halifax.

More than 250 different species – including owls, white-tailed deer, raccoons and foxes – have been taken in by the facility, given medical care and released back into the wild.

But when winter arrives, the animals need a warm refuge from the cold. Since the pens limit the animals from burrowing, the centre needed to find a way to provide protection from the brutal winter conditions.

The answer, Swinimer discovered, was Christmas trees.

“It enhances their natural environment but it also acts as protection from the cold winter,” she said.

A great horned owl named Boo had his cage spruced up by torn-up branches to help block out the wind and snow. Other animals have their enclosures walled in by Christmas trees, creating a dense natural barrier.

The centre put out a call on Facebook inviting anyone nearby to drop off their trees. In return, the centre offers to take guests on tours and introduce them to the approximately 100 animals on site.

“We thought it would be a good tradition for the kids,” said Krystal Denney after dropping off her family’s tree.

“I heard that they needed some trees here for the wildlife, so we just decided to grab our tree and our mother’s tree and bring it on down,” said Nova Scotian Ryan Barker.

The centre has collected Christmas trees in past years and has come to rely on the donations; in fact, the only trees remaining before this year’s donations were last year’s trees.

Swinimer says the centre needs about 200 trees to get through the winter, and that the goal will likely be reach by Sunday.

The organization says it has helped more than 20,000 injured and orphaned animals and grown to a team of over 100 volunteers since it began in 1997.

With files from CTV Atlantic


Latest Canada & World News

  • More than 27,000 Virginians register to vote after extension

    World News CTV News
    RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia Department of Elections says more than 27,000 people registered to vote during a brief extension of the state's voter-registration deadline. A federal judge granted the deadline's extension Thursday after heavy demand prevented some voters from registering online. Source
  • Clinton campaign preparing for post-election, even if Trump refuses to concede

    World News CBC News
    Hillary Clinton's campaign is increasingly preparing for the possibility that Donald Trump may never concede the presidential election should she win, a development that could enormously complicate the crucial early weeks of her preparations to take office. Source
  • 100 mostly barefoot inmates escape Haiti lockup: officials

    World News CTV News
    ARCAHAIE, Haiti - Officials say more than 100 mostly barefoot inmates have overpowered guards and escaped from a Haitian prison. Judge Henry Claude Louis-Jean says Saturday's jailbreak occurred in Arcahaie, a coastal town about 30 miles north of Haiti's capital. Source
  • Toddler dies in Wash. fire with his dog huddled at his side

    World News CTV News
    SEATTLE -- A toddler who died in a house fire was found with his dog and teddy bear next to him and authorities believe the dog tried to protect the boy, a spokesman for Spokane's fire department said Saturday. Source
  • Hacked emails show Clinton campaign weighing Keystone XL decision

    Canada News CBC News
    Hacked emails show Hillary Clinton's campaign wrestled with how to announce her opposition to construction of the Keystone XL pipeline without losing the support of labour unions that supported the project. Emails published this past week by WikiLeaks show debate and confusion within the Clinton camp as it faced down the unexpectedly strong primary challenge by liberal Senator Bernie Sanders, who opposed the pipeline. Source
  • Ottawa man convicted of sexually abusing young girls facing new charges of public nudity, mischief

    Canada News CTV News
    An Ottawa daycare operator convicted last year of sexually abusing young girls in his care is now facing new charges, including public nudity and mischief to property. Jeffrey Wills, 42, was arrested on Thursday at his home in the city’s west end after police received a call about a naked man in the area. Source
  • Ex-Habs coach Jacques Demers hospitalized after suffering stroke

    Canada News CBC News
    Former NHL coach Jacques Demers has been hospitalized after suffering a stroke, Radio-Canada is reporting. The gravity of the stroke is not known. He is 72 years old. Demers also suffered a stroke on April 6 that was followed by three months of intensive rehabilitative therapy. Source
  • Jehovah's Witnesses defend pushing for bloodless surgeries

    Canada News CBC News
    Hospital visits by Jehovah's Witness elders, aimed at defending the right of members to refuse blood transfusions, are under scrutiny following the death of a 27-year-old Quebec woman who hemorrhaged earlier this month. One former Witness described the hospital liaison committees as "intimidating. Source
  • AT&T set to announce purchase of Time Warner for $85B US

    World News CBC News
    AT&T Inc. is set to announce as early as Saturday an $85 billion US deal to buy Time Warner Inc, sources familiar with the matter said, giving the telecom company control of cable TV channels HBO and CNN, film studio Warner Bros. Source
  • Father sentenced to 1,503 years in prison in daughter’s rape

    World News Toronto Sun
    FRESNO, Calif. — A Fresno man was sentenced to 1,503 years in prison for raping his teenage daughter over a four-year period. The 41-year-old was sentenced Friday to the longest-known prison sentence in Fresno Superior Court history, the Fresno Bee reported. Source