Benton, IL – Repurpose your live Christmas tree by donating it to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rend Lake Project for fish habitat. Donated trees will be bundled together and placed in the lake to create underwater fish structures that improves fish habitat and angling opportunities.
To donate your live Christmas tree, bring it to any of the following locations around Rend Lake, Mt. Vernon, or Marion. Locations at Rend Lake include Sugar Creek parking lot, located at the intersection of Licata and Mine 24 roads; Dam West Boat Ramp, located on the west end of the main dam; or Jackie Branch boat ramp, located north of Highway 154 across from the Barren Township building. Tree donations will be accepted at all Rend Lake locations until January 13, 2024.
Trees can be dropped off in Mt. Vernon at Optimist Park located at 903 Pace Avenue until January 12, 2024. Locations in Marion include Ray Fosse Park at the “Goofy Golf” parking lot located just north of Highway 13 on the east end of Marion at 500 East Deyoung Street and at Pyramid Park in the northernmost picnic shelter parking lot at 1300 Bevabeck Drive. Trees donation will be accepted at the Marion locations until January 12, 2024.Remember that artificial or flocked trees (with artificial snow) cannot be donated. All tinsel, decorations, stands, and plastic bags must be removed from the tree prior to drop off.
In March, the Corps of Engineers team, Illinois Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists, and volunteers will team up to place the bundled and weighted trees in the lake. Watch your local newspaper and TV station as well as the Rend Lake Project Office/Visitor Center Facebook page for the exact date for the Annual Rend Lake Christmas Tree Drop. Volunteers and outdoor organizations interested in assisting with the Christmas tree drop should contact Gavin Richardson at the Rend Lake Project Office at 618-724-2493.
Release no. 24-003