Recycle discarded Christmas trees to benefit wildlife

As Christmas passes and we head into the new year, people who used a live tree for decoration this year can turn their backyard into a bit of a wildlife sanctuary.

A whole Christmas tree can not only make an excellent bird feeder, but also can aid other wild critters by giving them some shelter.

There are a couple of ways you can use your discarded Christmas tree. One is to simply stick the tree in the ground while another is to create a brush pile. When we used a live tree, we preferred a brush pile near wood we had stacked for our wood burner. It acted not only as a place where birds could eat, but as a safe heaven for rabbits. Add leaves, twigs and some branches if you have them to the tree and it will yield a nice base for wildlife.

There are a number of way you can attract a variety of birds such as chickadees, song sparrows, cardinals, house finches, etc. who are seeking food.for your backyard. Birds can be attracted by suet, cranberry and popcorn strings, stale bread and dried chopped fruit in mesh bags, real fruit, Cheerios, grapes, raisins, etc.

One can trim a wildlife tree in a variety of ways. Among suggestions from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are:

String natural popcorn (make sure it has no butter or salt) using a needle and thread.

Suet is a popular bird food made from fat. Melt beef or bacon grease and let it cool. Add bird seed, peanut butter, fruit or granola. Place in mesh bags and hang it on the tree.

Fill net material with bird seed. Add finely crushed eggshells (this ads calcium for birds. Hang with a string.

Using a needle and thread, string together different kinds of grapes.

Cut thin slices of apples and oranges hang each slice separately.

Mix peanut butter with oatmeal and apply thick mixture inside and around a pine cone. Roll the cone in bird seed and hang.

String together raw peanuts with a needle and thread.

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A free venison preparation and canning seminar is being offered Jan. 15 in Paulding County.

The seminar will be held at the Antwerp Conservation Club from 6-9 p.m. The club is located at 17814 Road 53 in Antwerp. It is free of charge, but preregistration is required by Jan. 14, as space is limited. Interested individuals can register at

Personnel from the Ohio Division of Wildlife and Antwerp Conservation Club will cover topics including how to pressure can venison, a great way to save freezer space and preserve meat, and how to make venison jerky, which is a delicious way to use all cuts of meat. Wild game smoking techniques and additional venison preparation recipes will also be shared.

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The State Controlling Board has approved a nearly $3 million investment by the Ohio Division of Parks and Watercraft for campground electrical improvements at Maumee Bay State Park in Lucas County.

The $2.85 million investment will make electrical improvements to 227 campsites at the park’s family campground. The electrical upgrade will include a new utility-owned primary cable, new utility-owned transformers, new stand-alone distribution panels, and new branch circuiting to new campsite pedestals with upgrade to 50/30/20A service.

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Although the partial deal between the U.S. and China reached an initial deal to deescalate their trade war that cancels a wide range of tariffs affecting outdoor enthusiasts, the 25 percent tariff on billions of dollars of outdoor products still remains in effect.

Existing tariffs on certain fishing gear and tackle, inflatables, and water sport equipment have been slashed in half. Products on lists that remain under the 25 percent tariff include anchors, antenna receivers, boats, fiberglass, fish finders, fuel injection pumps, propellers, rope, seats, trailer tires, and miscellaneous plastic metal and rubber parts for boat equipment.

“While several of the agreement’s details continue to remain under wraps – including when the existing tariffs will be rolled back – we are disappointed that the administration has kept in place the 25 percent tariff on approximately $250 billion worth of products. This deal is not the finish line, and the recreational boating industry will celebrate only after all tariffs on more than 400 commonly used marine items are lifted. It is vital that the administration capitalizes on this first step and strikes a comprehensive agreement that eliminates tariffs and puts American businesses and workers on a level playing field.” said National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) senior vice president of government and legal affairs, Nicole Vasilaros.

There are different lists in the trade rift that affect outdoor equipment.

According to the NMMA, The 15 percent tariff – which went into effect on Sept.1 – will be reduced to 7.5 percent, though a timeline for the reduction has not been announced. The products on this list include floating docks, fishing equipment, wake equipment and other water sport equipment. The exclusion process for products on List 4A remains open until Jan. 31, 2020.

The 15 percent tariff that was scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 15 has been cancelled by the Trump administration. The products on this list included life jackets, personal flotation devices, and some fishing gear and tackle.

The exclusion process for products on List 4A remains open until Friday, January 31, 2020. The U.S. Trade Representative has posted instructions and NMMA stands ready to assist stakeholders throughout the exclusion process.

This is only a partial list of products on a long and sometimes complicated list. Stay tuned as more details become available.

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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