BY JEFF HORVATH
Christmas trees that enriched the Yuletide season for area residents will do the same post-holiday for animals at a Wayne County zoo.
Claws ‘N’ Paws Wild Animal Park in the Poconos is once again accepting real, untreated trees free of tinsel, fake snow, ornaments or other decorations. They repurpose the trees for the animals that call the zoo home. It’s an opportunity for residents to discard their once-festive firs and other evergreens while providing for a big cat, camel or petting zoo pal.
While not the only way residents can get rid of their holiday trees — several municipalities will collect them from curbs, for example — donating them to Claws ‘N’ Paws might be the most fun.
“Primarily the animals get them for enrichment,” Head Zookeeper Pamela Voglino said. “So that is like something that they can do for fun. A lot of them either eat them, they rub on them, they roll on them, they hide in them. … They go to good use.”
Among other uses, the donated trees help serve as shelters to block wind. Claws ‘N’ Paws staff also hide treats in the trees for the animals to find and use them for “scent enrichment,” occasionally spraying them with perfume “just to add a little extra oomph,” she said.
“Most of the animals enjoy them in one way or another,” Voglino said. “We’ll keep using these trees for months.”
Interested donors can drop their trees off to the right of the blue gate in the zoo’s parking lot daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Voglino said there’s usually a pile of trees there.
Claws ‘N’ Paws is located at 1475 Ledgedale Road, Lake Ariel.
Many Lackawanna County municipalities are also collecting and recycling real Christmas trees. Scranton residents, for example, can place their trees curbside for pickup on their regular recycling schedules, Department of Public Works Director Tom Preambo said.
The city will recycle trees at the Lackawanna County Recycling Center or possibly turn them into mulch to be used as cover at Nay Aug Park, Preambo said.
Only trees free of ornaments, tinsel and other materials can be recycled.
The boroughs of Dickson City, Jermyn and Taylor are among other municipalities that collect and drop off trees at the recycling center.
Dickson City crews will pick up trees every Monday in January, Borough Manager Cesare Forconi said.
In Jermyn, Borough Manager Dan Markey said residents can put their trees out for collection any day and crews will pick them up on an ongoing basis.
Taylor will collect trees on Mondays for the next several weeks, Borough Manager Dan Zeleniak said. Trees should be placed in the same area residents usually place their garbage.
For inquiries about Christmas tree collection schedules and procedures elsewhere, residents should contact their respective municipalities.
While individual residents can drop their trees off at the recycling center for free, recycling center Manager Andy Wascura said officials would prefer they dispose of them through their municipal collection processes. Located at 3400 Boulevard Ave. in Scranton, the center is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
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