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

  • Five men arrested after Vegas-bound plane diverts to Winnipeg

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- Five men were removed from a plane that was forced to divert to Winnipeg on its way from the United Kingdom to Las Vegas. A spokesman with Thomas Cook Airlines says the Airbus A330 was travelling from Manchester to Las Vegas on Saturday morning when the crew diverted to Winnipeg due to some passengers' "disruptive behaviour. Source
  • Family found dead at Mexico resort killed by toxic gas

    World News CTV News
    MEXICO CITY -- Autopsies indicate an Iowa couple and their two children died from inhaling toxic gas at a rented condo on Mexico's Caribbean coast, but there was no sign of foul play or suicide, Mexican authorities said Saturday. Source
  • 'A historic moment': Montreal massacre survivor joins Washington rally

    Canada News CTV News
    It’s been more than 28 years since a gunman stormed Montreal’s École Polytechnique, killing 14 women in the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history. Another 14 people were injured in the massacre, including Nathalie Provost, who sustained four gunshot wounds, including one to the forehead. Source
  • 'I will vote you out': Teens vow to shake up U.S. politics at gun control rallies

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Kat Schamel did not vote in the last American election, because her 18th birthday happened to fall on Nov. 9, 2016, one day after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. Source
  • Car bomb in coastal Egyptian city kills 2 police

    World News CTV News
    CAIRO -- A bomb placed under a nearby car exploded Saturday in the coastal city of Alexandria as the city security chief's convoy passed by, killing two policemen and wounding four others, the Interior Ministry said. Source
  • Accused Austin bomber called himself a 'psychopath': congressman

    World News CTV News
    AUSTIN, Texas - A congressman says the suspected Austin bomber left a confession calling himself a "psychopath" and saying he felt no remorse for his actions. Rep. Michael McCaul made the comments at a news conference Saturday, where he thanked law enforcement officials for stopping the deadly three-week bombing spree that terrorized the capital of Texas. Source
  • The road map and road blocks of Trump's transgender troops ban explained

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump has issued an order supporting his push to ban most transgender troops from serving in the U.S. military except under "limited circumstances." But the decision is expected to be the subject of an ongoing legal fight in the months ahead. Source
  • Nigerian police: Boko Haram to free 1 more kidnapped girl

    World News CTV News
    MAIDUGURI, Nigeria -- Nigeria's police chief says another girl who was abducted from a school in Dapchi last month is being brought back by her kidnappers. Police Inspector General Muhammed Abubakar said Saturday that he cancelled a trip to Dapchi to avoid interfering with the release. Source
  • Quebec doctors protest their own raises, call for improved patient accessibility

    Canada News CBC News
    When Lashanda Skerritt decided to go to medical school, money was far from being the first thing on her mind — she wanted to serve the population. She is among hundreds of health care workers, patients and community groups who marched in protest of raises for doctors in the province. Source
  • New Brunswick man reaches halfway point of 3,000-kilometre dog sled trek

    Canada News CTV News
    A New Brunswick man making a 3,000-kilometre dog sled trek from Manitoba to his home province says the journey thus far has been "a mix of beauty and terror." Justin Allen and his 12 Alaskan huskies left Churchill, Man. Source