It's such a simple idea it's amazing that it works. After the holidays are done and all the trimmings come off the Christmas tree, create a new purpose for it. Place it at the base of a sand dune and let nature take its course.
Here on the Outer Banks it's become sort of an annual rite of passage.
The idea came from a project at Jockey's Ridge State Park where some middle school students and Boy Scouts were laying out Christmas trees to capture sand and rebuild the dune.
it was just a natural progression for someone to figure, "Hey, if it works at Jockey's Ridge, why wouldn't it work on the beach?"
And the answer is, it does, and it does very well.
The first to start gathering trees was Betsy Seawell, owner of the Islander Motel in Nags Head. That was in 2009 right after Nor'Ida carved away the dune in front of her motel.
Pretty soon she was, as she describes herself, the Crazy Christmas Tree Lady, going up and down the Outer Banks collecting trees wherever she could find them.
About 2013 Donny King, owner of Ocean Boulevard in Kitty Hawk had some ocean got in the game, although at the time he did not know about Betsy's efforts. After Sandy passed and he saw that although the dunes were damaged they still kept the sea out of his restaurant, he figured a little help for the dunes was in order.
Donny knows a lot of people and he's pretty savvy about media, so his efforts really took off.
H's expanded his efforts now, doing a Better Beaches OBX that includes sand fencing, plants and of course, Christmas trees.
2020 may be the biggest year yet for Christmas trees. Trees can still be dropped off at Betsy's motel, but the big shipment will be the 25 plus trucks loaded with trees that Donny has arranged to bring from Virginia Beach.
Spend some time in a Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates and see for yourself how wonderful our Outer Banks home is.