A new NC wildlife conservation center wants your Christmas trees for its animals

Upcycle Christmas trees

IRON STATION, N.C. (WBTV) - The 105-acre Carolina Wildlife Conservation Center may be new this year, but it has already served about 1,000 animals.

“Lots of areas are being developed, trees are being taken down, and the trees I see as wildlife’s homes,” Morgan Rafael says. “So, they’re coming in contact with humans more, cars more.”

They treat animals like possums, squirrels, turtles, and groundhogs. In 2020, because of new laws, they will also be able to treat foxes, skunks, raccoons, and bats.

Morgan Rafael at Carolina Wildlife Conservation Center holds a groundhog recovering at the center.
Morgan Rafael at Carolina Wildlife Conservation Center holds a groundhog recovering at the center. (Source: Amanda Foster)

“It’s a huge pivotal moment for us,” Ruby Davis says. “And perfect timing for us opening the facility, and having these cages available, having the land available, and being a resource for the public to keep their safety as well.”

What they are looking for now, from this community, is Christmas trees.

“Trees bring people so much joy,” Rafael says. “But they’re going to bring our wildlife habitat, they’re going to bring them enrichment, we’re going to put them in the cages so that the animals can play with them, smell them, climb with them.”

They will be used in some areas to cover the ground.

“Our trees are really big, and we don’t have as much ground cover for them,” Rafael says.

They will also be broken down to use inside cages of recovering animals.

“Wildlife can go under it and hide, they can use it for their homes, they can nest,” Rafael says.

It is all about ‘upcycling’ for the animals.

“I wanted a way to reuse [Christmas trees] so they would be beneficial for the wildlife,” she says.

An added plus is inviting the community out to see them, at their new home.

“See what we’re doing here, see the wildlife we’re rescuing, see the land we have protected from development.”

The center, in Iron Station, is having an event January 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., inviting people to bring their Christmas trees then, and enjoy some hot beverages and a tour of the facility, in return.

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