A continuing purpose
While guard dog Stan keeps watch, Ruth Vanderlaan, co-owner of Vanderlaand The Barnyard Zoo, is shown standing beside some of the Christmas Trees donated so the animals, seen in the background, can enjoy a Yuletide treat. Thompson Goddard photo
Carolyn Thompson Goddard
WINCHESTER SPRINGS – It appears that a new tradition of Christmas tree disposal is being created with the Christmas Trees for Critters event at Vanderlaand The Barnyard Zoo near Winchester Springs.
Co-owner Ruth Vanderlaan commented that they have been accepting decorations and free evergreen trees for around a decade, with approximately 20 Christmas trees dropped off as of Jan. 2. She mentioned the trees arrive from both urban and rural areas with many people returning year after year to provide the animals with the Yuletide treat.
Vanderlaan explained the evergreen trees are a good source of vitamins, a natural de-wormer and a welcome change from the hay which is the usual winter food for the animals with them generally consuming the bark, needles and smaller branches of the trees. Commenting that the animals “chow down daily”, she continued the llamas, goats and alpacas consume about a tree a day, while the horses eat a lesser amount of greenery with all enjoying munching on the trees during the post-Yuletide season.
Carolyn Thompson Goddard, grew up in Chesterville and attended North Dundas District High School. After completing her BA in Political Science at Carleton University she has worked as a medical secretary and library technician. In 2020 she graduated from Algonquin College with a diploma in Journalism and has been a reporter and column writer for The Chesterville Record for over 10 years.