KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Officials ask for people to help improve Kentucky’s fisheries by donating their natural Christmas tree to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ “Christmas for the Fishes” tree recycling program this holiday season.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife will be accepting evergreen trees at more than 30 drop-off locations across the state from December 26 through January 15, 2023. Officials say trees should be real, not artificial, and should be free of any lights, garland and decorations. Limbs, wreaths, brush or other plants will not be accepted.

A news release explains donated Christmas trees will be anchored to environmentally-friendly weights and submerged at various depths in different lakes and reservoirs across Kentucky to provide places for fish to feed, shelter and spawn.

“Fish require more than open water to thrive,” said Joseph Zimmerman, habitat program coordinator for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “They also require an environment that provides food, shelter and shade in summer. The trees will help replenish the woody cover in lakes and reservoirs that decays over time, leaving fish vulnerable to their surroundings.”

Officials say the locations where trees are installed generally become hot spots for fish species such as bass, bluegill and crappie. These locations are marked with GPS coordinates and are available through the department’s website to help anglers.

For more information about the Christmas tree recycling program or to find a drop-off location, visit the department’s website or call 1-800-858-1549 during the hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern on weekdays, excluding holidays.