ARLINGTON — More than 600 Christmas trees were collected by 16 Boy Scouts and 12 adult volunteers from Troop 29 on Saturday, Jan. 4, at the city of Arlington parking lot just north of Legion Park.
Calvin Rengen, the committee chair for Troop 29, credited the relatively steady yield of trees this year, when compared to last year, to a December awareness blitz that included the distribution of promotional fliers and as many as 3,000 donation collection envelopes throughout Arlington neighborhoods during the two December weekends leading up to the first Saturday in January.
"That number of trees is pretty close to what we've had before," Rengen said of the annual collection drive. "Probably because they have the highest concentration of houses, it seems like more trees came from Gleneagle than from the other neighborhoods."
Rengen noted that Arlington residents were given the option to include financial donations to the Scouts in their envelopes, but added that the Scouts picked up everyone's Christmas trees regardless.
"We've probably collected $1,200-plus so far," Rengen said. "Because we gave them self-addressed envelopes, some of them rubber-banded their envelopes to their trees, while others chose to mail in their envelopes later. We're still getting envelopes. Steve Peterson has an artificial Christmas tree, but because he's a former Scout, he gave us some money anyway."
Fellow former Scout Allen Wesson, an alum of Troop 29, donated the wood-chipper for the day, after the Scouts' first chipper conked out.
"The money we receive for collecting and recycling these trees helps us pay for everything from merit badge patches and awards banquets to camping equipment," Rengen said. "We have to maintain our canoes and life vests, and park fees for a group spot can run as high as a couple of hundred bucks for a single weekend."
Rengen expressed his appreciation to both the community for participating and the city of Arlington for donating the use of its municipal parking lot for the day, and explained that the Scouts' parents would find uses for the mulch.