Christmas Tree Recycling

People wishing to donate their Christmas tree can do so between 2nd – 23rd January 2022, when the zoo is open from 10.30am – 4pm and guests are encouraged to stop by the zoo and Farm Shop whilst they visit. They might even recognise their tree in with the big zoo animals.

The zoo and North Somerset Council will be joining forces in 2022 with the aim of growing the Christmas Tree recycling program into the biggest year yet!

Building on previous years, Noah’s Ark is keen to help raise awareness of the region’s recycling initiative, reducing Christmas tree wastage, and putting the trees to good use.

Donated Christmas trees benefit the animals at the zoo with a chance for enrichment. With great help from North Somerset Council’s Grounds teams, donated trees also provide chipping mulch for animal enclosures and plant beddings.

Elephants and rhinos have previously enjoyed exploring a set up planted forest and lions have picked their way through trees for their dinner after keepers sprayed perfume on the trees. Spectacled bears, Rasu and Madidi have also recently enjoyed inspecting trees to find honey between branches.

However, the wider benefit for the zoo is the predicted 10 tons approximately of chippings that come from the trees. This goes into a range of animal enclosures, from tapirs, coati, spectacled bears and even with the elephants.

In the animal enclosures the chipping is used as substrate for the animals to be kept on outdoors and provides a much-needed help to plant beddings. Mulch from the trees helps to subdue weeds and maintain moisture in the soil.

“It’s a phenomenal feat every year now receiving thousands of trees, but it feels great to know that these trees have a huge benefit for our zoo animals.” Said Grounds Manager, Michael Bradly

Noah’s Ark, like many other zoos has enjoyed giving festive enrichment for many years. However, it was in 2020 that after a case of mistaken identity with an American zoo with a similar name, that the campaign now receives thousands of trees. “It started off as a couple of trees dropped at our doorstep, then we soon had over 1,000 Christmas trees donated in 2019 and over 1,500 after Christmas last year.” Michael continued.

This year the zoo is prepared and ready for what it expects to be more trees than ever before. Noah’s Ark is working closely with the local North Somerset Council to be able to process them properly. The council are supplying assistance from their grounds team, who will provide five days of chipping at the zoo.

It is all part of Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm’s Green Zoo initiative to help with a sustainable future. In addition to the success of Christmas tree recycling there’s also 15,000 Beech trees that form the Great British Wildlife Maze and provide an annual silage for the browsing animals.

Earlier in the year, 5,500 trees were planted in and around the zoo bringing a total of over 45,000 trees planted during two decades across the 200-acre zoo and surrounding farmland, providing a lasting legacy for the environment.

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