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Bringing Back the Beach
Following the beating of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, Alabama's Gulf Coast faced a slow recovery. The pounding waves of the hurricane pulled sand away from the beaches and destroyed dunes that are home to a number of animal populations, including the endangered Alabama beach mice.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, one population of the mice, at Gulf Shores State Park, appeared to be entirely decimated. To rebuild the dunes and restore the fragile ecosystem, volunteers relied on the help of Christmas Trees.
Kelly Reetz, Gulf State Park Naturalist, coordinated a project with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and a number of volunteers to rebuild the dunes. In two days, the group put up more than 3,000 feet of sand fencing, in 10 foot sections, with a Christmas Tree at the base of each fence. The Christmas Trees themselves were a victim of the hurricane - they had been donated to the park by a local Christmas Tree farmer after Hurricane Ivan devastated his crop.
Approximately 300 Christmas Trees were used to help rebuild the dunes along the coast following Hurricane Ivan.