With Christmas just behind us, you may already be thinking about taking down the tree. Well, an aspiring Eagle Scout wants it. He is hoping to make the old new, and make New Hanover County a little greener along the way. 55-acre Smith Creek Lake is home to little else other than a few birds. But thanks to some creative thinking by Andrew Best, a 16-year-old Eagle Scout candidate, it won't be that way for long. “When I decided to do this as my Eagle project, I always wanted to do something that would last in the community for long time, something that could come back in fifty years and say I did that,” said Best. Best hatched a plan to spawn a fish population in the lake out of recycled Christmas trees. Trees from a site off of Gordon Road will be bundled in soccer nets, taken out by barge, and sunk in the lake. “Once you create an artificial reef, it gives the fish something to feed in. It gives them a certain amount of protection from birds, and other predators that are in the area,” Best said. If you are planning to drop off your tree, all decorations must be taken off first. New Hanover County Parks and Rec, sheriff's department divers, and Waste Management, are all on board. “Just hearing the concept that he talked about with having the trees buried in the lake properly - it was just a great idea,” said New Hanover County solid waste manager, Lynn Bestul. As a licensed diver, Best hopes to go underwater and help build the actual reef, and some memories. Best said he likes to fish, and what better place to do it than in a lake where, thanks to his innovation, its Christmas all year round. Best plans to have a sign with the latitude and longitude of the reef. That is so folks with a GPS system can find out exactly where it is, and consequently, where all the fish are. The reef project is expected to start in February. You can drop off Friday until January 31st. There are other places in the county where you can recycle your Christmas greenery. Trees will be burned or mulched if you drop them at the following locations: The New Hanover County Landfill, Diversified Biomass, and Myrtle Grove Middle School. Plus, all used wrapping paper and cardboard boxes, can be taken to any of the county's recycling sites. You can drop off these recyclables from now until January 31st.
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