Louth Rotary Club used their 2016 Christmas tree collection to help shore up coastal sand dunes at Mablethorpe. The project was submited for the RIBI Rodney Huggins Environment Award and received a Commendation

For several years, the Rotary Club of Louth with some 32 members, has in January, collected Christmas Trees for a small donation. Louth is a small rural market town surrounded by villages and some 10 miles from the North sea. We collect from Louth and villages within a 5 mile radius.This project generated income for the club which was donated to local charities, created positive publicity and resulted in the chipped trees being used for garden mulch.
 
However, we thought we could do more with the tree to support the environment and in 2014/15 we approached the management trust of a local beauty spot, Hubbards Hills and in that year the trees were used to support the bank of the River Lud, which flows through Hubbards Hills, a local environmental project which was very successful.

Our project became a major contribution to the In Bloom portfolio, contributing to Louth In Bloom achieving Silver Gilt that year. We continue to work with and support the local In Bloom scheme every year.

We increased our publicity and as well as traditional leaflets and posters we launched a website and Facebook page. Our website can be found at www. Louthxmastree.org.uk and our Facebook page at Louth Charity Christmas Tree Collection

Helping the sand dunes! 2016/2017
This year, 2016/17, we approached the Environment Agency, with the suggestion that the discarded trees could be used to help shore up the sand dunes along the coast at Mablethorpe. The importance of helping to strengthen and project our precious coastline was emphasised recently by the threat of coastal flooding due to high tides and storms. Old Christmas trees will be "planted" into sand dunes along the coast around Mablethorpe to help stabilise them. The sand dunes are extremely important for wildlife and provide protection from flooding but they can be damaged by wind and storms. The Christmas trees will support the dunes and encourage grasses to grow. Of course the trees won't grow here and will eventually be covered by sand.
This Rotary project is far more profitable for the community than dumping a post Christmas tree in a skip. The Environment Agency are particularly pleased with the initiative saying that the scheme could save thousands of pounds when compared with the cost of heavier engineering materials such as concrete and steel piling.

We promoted the project on our website saying “use your tree to raise money for charity and help a fantastic environmental project, book it in for collection here.” We asked for a donation £5.00 per tree and this year raised over £1200 and collected over 200 trees, doubling our usual number.

The project captured the public’s imagination, and not only did we receive far more requests to collect trees this year, we were even featured on BBC Look North, generating further interest not only in this project and the environment,  but also in the club and in Rotary.

The project is one which involves the whole club and the majority turn out to help collect the trees. Lots of fun fellowship is created through team work, and it provides a great opportunity to meet local people – the community we try to serve. Lastly but certainly not least, it is a project which is helping protect the environment, recycling trees, helping support wildlife and particularly the sustainability of our coastline

Businesses who have given their resources and time are:
Louth Cars Ltd
Louth Building Supplies
J. Melton Ltd
K.R.N. House & Garden Plants
Bush Gardening Services
Brendan Randall (The Woom

D Broadmeadow
Chair – Community and Vocation, The Rotary Club of Louth, District 1040