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

Snacking on the evergreen
A llama appears to be keeping a close eye on an evergreen tree in the enclosure. According to Ruth Vanderlaan, llamas, goats, sheep, cattle and horses all enjoy munching on the evergreen trees provided post-Christmas to Vanderlaand The Barnyard Zoo during the annual Christmas Trees for Critters.
Thompson Goddard photo

Carolyn Thompson Goddard
Record Correspondent

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.