MOUNT VERNON — Boy Scout Troop 4100 met Saturday morning at Salem Lutheran Church to begin its postholiday tradition of recycling Christmas trees.

The scouts gathered in a basement room of the church with whiteboards and a red and white Boy Scouts flag on the wall as Scoutmaster Ed Norton gave instructions for the tree pickup.

Norton told the scouts to be careful around traffic, to avoid walking near wood chippers at the recycling center, and to pick up every tree they saw.

He explained that two troops used to split the annual task, but Troop 4100 is responsible for all of Mount Vernon because they pick up every tree they see.

“This might be the first time that members of our community see us in action,” Norton said.

The troop posted some 7,500 flyers advertising the tree pickup every weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas, said Catherine Price, a troop committee member.

After Norton’s speech, the scouts split up into groups, each with an SUV or pickup truck, trailer and a driver.

Norton was behind the wheel of a silver Toyota Sequoia, accompanied by his two sons, Cypress and Caleb Norton, and Jeremy Lammon.

When they found Christmas trees left by residents on the curb, the group loaded them into a trailer and tied them down with ropes.

The scouts collected some donation slips attached to the trees that will go toward programs and equipment for the troop. Donations are not required for the scouts to collect a tree, Norton said.

The troop partnered with the City of Mount Vernon for the project. Together, they will transform old Christmas trees into wood chips for the city to use in parks.

Once the scouts in Norton’s car had a trailer full of trees, they secured the load and drove to the city’s recycling center. The scouts quickly untied the ropes from the trailer and unloaded the trees onto a pile, the next stop being a wood chipper.

“I like the partnership,” Norton said about the one between his troop and the city. He appreciates the hard work that city employees put in.

Next weekend, the troop will be out collecting trees again. Trees must be on the curb by 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, to be picked up. Anyone who lives within Mount Vernon city limits may participate.

Donations to the troop can be attached to the tree or mailed to: BSA Troop 4100, c/o Salem Lutheran Church, 2529 N. LaVenture Road, Mount Vernon, WA 98273.

Reporter Maddie Smith 360-416-2139, msmith@skagitpublishing.com

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