Conservancy offering blue spruce trees for Christmas

By Nature Conservancy of Canada
November 30, 2018 - 12:02pm

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is inviting our valued neighbours, partners, and supporters in the Red Deer area to join us for our third annual open house at the Glenellen Community Centre to celebrate the holidays.

On Saturday, December 8, the community is invited to stop in for a hot chocolate, apple cider, and other seasonal treats from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. A limited number of beautiful pre-cut blue spruce trees will be available for attendees to take home for use as a holiday tree.

On December 7, NCC staff and Conservation Volunteers will be removing these trees from the Haynes property near Pine Lake. When NCC acquired the Haynes property in 2011, it also inherited a tree farm full of white and blue spruce. While white spruce is indigenous to the area, the Colorado blue spruce is not; in fact, nowhere in Canada is this tree native, so NCC’s naturalization plan has targeted them for removal.

Instead of cutting down all the blue spruce trees at once, NCC plans to gradually remove these trees over the next decade to give the native species more room to grow and create a more natural, staggered forest than the evenly spaced rows of the tree farm.

Once all of the blue spruce have been removed from this conservation site, NCC plans to diversify the forest by planting native shrubs, aspen and balsam poplar trees.

This is the third year NCC has hosted a tree removal event followed by a community open house. Last year, more than 80 neighbours, donors, partners, landowners and members of the greater Red Deer and area community came out to share in holiday cheer, hot apple cider and roasted marshmallows.

“This event is a great way for us to raise awareness for NCC and the work we do, but more importantly I find it is a unique opportunity for me to meet neighbours and other community members,” said NCC Natural Area Manager Alia Snively. “This is an event that really gets me in the holiday spirit and I look forward to it each year.”

NCC has been actively working in the Red Deer River area for more than a decade. To date, we have helped conserve 9,700 acres (3,900 hectares) in the area. This region was selected for conservation because it contains the highest density of intact parkland in central Alberta.  

The December 7 event is still looking for participants, and these volunteers will have the opportunity to take home trees the day before the community open house. To learn more about the event or to register, visit conservationvolunteers.ca.

Directions to Glendale Community Centre: From Red Deer, follow the Highway 2 south about 10 kilometres. Take exit 384 towards Penhold and travel east on Highway 42 for 25 kilometres. Go south on Highway 816 and then turn right (west bound) on Township Road 360. The Glendale Community Centre will be on the left side of the road.

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