PHOTOS: A late Christmas present for Fraser Valley goats and frogs

How a local non-profit turned two dozen discarded Christmas trees into crucial habitat for a local at-risk species.

By Fraser Valley Current Contributor | January 20, 2022 |5:00 am

Two dozen Christmas trees have now been converted into frog habitat—and goat feed.

As the calendar rolled over to 2022, the Fraser Valley Conservancy asked locals to donate their Christmas trees to a unique plan to help a local at-risk frog species.

Northern red-legged frogs are at risk and need friendly wetlands and stable underwater structures in which to breed. A Langley property had an artificially created pond that the red-legged frogs might like—along with the Pacific tree frogs who also live in the area. But the pond’s banks that were too steep to support the shoreline plants that would often harbour frogs and their eggs.

That’s where the Christmas trees came in.

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More Fraser Valley Current frog coverage: Last summer, we reported on the Conservancy’s work to identify local frogs. The story also includes audio samples so you can distinguish different species by their calls

Step 1: Collect the trees. Just before the Conservancy was to undertake their project, Mother Nature dumped loads of snow and ice on the Fraser Valley. Nevertheless about 25 were dropped off at the Langley property.

Two dozen trees were donated for frog habitat. 📷 Fraser Valley Conservancy
Two dozen trees were donated for frog habitat. 📷 Fraser Valley Conservancy

Step 2: A week later, after the snow had mostly melted, a dozen volunteers came to the site to complete the project. The trees were trimmed to provide enough room for the frogs. Then they were weighted down by cinder blocks that would keep them mostly submerged in the water.

Fraser Valley Conservancy volunteers trimmed the donated Christmas trees to make them perfect for frogs. 📷 Fraser Valley Conservancy
Fraser Valley Conservancy volunteers trimmed the donated Christmas trees to make them perfect for frogs. 📷 Fraser Valley Conservancy

Step 3: A pomelo was used to gauge whether each tree had enough room to support and harbour a frog egg mass

A pomelo was used to determine when a tree could make a good frog habitat. 📷 Fraser Valley Conservancy
A pomelo was used to determine when a tree could make a good frog habitat. 📷 Fraser Valley Conservancy

Step 4: The trees were chucked into the pond. Some were thrown into deep water. Others were placed in shallow water. The type of each tree at each location was recorded. This spring, the Conservancy will monitor which ones were most preferred by frogs to inform future projects.

Fraser Valley Conservancy Volunteers pitched trees into a Langley pond to provide habitat for frogs. 📷 Fraser Valley Conservancy
Fraser Valley Conservancy Volunteers pitched trees into a Langley pond to provide habitat for frogs. 📷 Fraser Valley Conservancy

Step 5: Goats did the rest of the recycling work. Clippings from the trees weren’t burned. Instead, they were collected and fed to animals that live on the property.

Donated Christmas tree trimmings not used for frog habitat were bundled up and fed to goats. 📷 Fraser Valley Conservancy
Donated Christmas tree trimmings not used for frog habitat were bundled up and fed to goats. 📷 Fraser Valley Conservancy
A dozen Fraser Valley Conservancy volunteers took part in the project. 📷 Fraser Valley Conservancy
A dozen Fraser Valley Conservancy volunteers took part in the project. 📷 Fraser Valley Conservancy

For more on the project, check out the Conservancy’s website. Their newsletter will also post updates on the project as frogs begin breeding at the site.

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