The Christmas season has come and gone, and many families are taking down their merry decorations to get ready for the next fun season - Mardi Gras. While many people will package their decorations up and store them to be pulled out of the attic for next year’s celebrations, those of us who buy a live tree each year have an additional problem with the usual task of climbing into the attic with a 25-pound box. New Orleans may have cracked the code to this holiday hitch.

As families kick their trees to the curb to get ready for the carnival season, local trash collectors will come by and bring them to the Recovery One Landfill. They’ll sit here and dry out while the city celebrates the newly coronated royalty through the streets of New Orleans. After the Mardi Gras festivities, the National Guard will transport the trees by helicopter to the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge. Once dropped, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will push the trees into the optimal positions to collect sediments. This man-made solution offers a strengthened coastal embankment and nurseries for bird and fish hatchlings.

A handful of other parishes also have begun to participate in these restoration efforts. And many residents with access to boats and the marshes have made it a tradition to watch the National Guard helicopters drop 20 Christmas trees at a time. Over 20 years, this project has built 200 football fields worth of marsh. This is extremely good news since Louisiana loses a football field of land every 100 minutes on average. Not only does this project help protect and restore the swamps of Louisiana, but it is also a feel-good project that gets many residents, especially the kids, on board with the state’s restoration efforts.