Even Christmas Trees Are Pitching in for Sandy Relief

February 4, 2013 | Andy Cush

About 3,000 Christmas trees in Long Beach, Long Island, are receiving a new lease on life thanks to some enterprising citizens committed to rebuilding their beach and their community. The trees have been placed in large piles along the beach’s destroyed dunes, with hopes that they’ll catch sand blowing in the wind and jumpstart the dunes’ recovery. Dunes are essential to the safety of beach communities as they help beat back water in the event of a storm.

“Some areas lost three to five feet in elevation on the beach,” said Jim LaCarrubba, the area’s director of public works. “We’ve become that much more vulnerable to storms.”

Backers of the project–which saw residents and local businesses donating trees–hope the symbols of Christmas cheer wil imitate the plant life that usually sits atop dune. “The trees act in place of natural plant growth,” said Charlie Peek,  spokesman for North Carolina’s park service, which has used the technique before. “It gives it a little head start, a little bit of a helping hand. In an ideal situation, the plant growth comes in after it and starts building a natural dune.”

(Photo: William Ward/Flickr)