BENTON – Repurpose your live Christmas tree by donating it to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rend Lake.

All donated trees will be bundled together, weighted, and placed in the lake to create underwater fish structures. The tree bundles serve as feeding areas for fish of all sizes, a safe refuge for small fish, and excellent fishing spots for anglers.

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 Rt. 154 across from the Barren Township building. Tree donations will be accepted at all Rend Lake locations until January 14, 2023.

Locations in Mt. Vernon include Veterans Park Softball Field and Optimist Park at 903 Pace Avenue. Tree donations will be accepted at the Mt. Vernon locations until January 5, 2023.

Locations in Marion include Ray Fosse Park at the “Goofy Golf” parking lot located just north of Route 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 location until January 6, 2023.

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.