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Since You Asked: Christmas tree rounds are bigegst fundraiser for Scouts

I know it's about time for the Boy Scouts of America to make their annual rounds, picking up discarded Christmas trees. Mine's on the curb.

But I was wondering how much the Scouts make from this program. And what do they do with all the discarded trees?

— Karl L., Ashland

Karl, we received your question in the nick of time. Boy Scout Troop 112 (Ashland) and Troop 535 (Talent) made their rounds Saturday. They might have been by your place.

The program, which started 26 years ago in Ashland, is the troops' biggest fundraiser of the year, raising $5,000 to $7,000 dollars, said Assistant Scoutmaster Jeff Jones.

Jones' said a high percentage of Ashland residents make a donation, typically about $5 to $20, but sometimes as high as $100.

"It's amazing how far-reaching the Scout project is," he said.

When the troop arrives to pick up the tree, a Scout will go to the door to request a donation or, if the resident is not home, leave a self-addressed envelope. Jones said these envelopes slowly filter in. Last year, they received one in September.

The fundraiser is mandatory for the 24 Scouts on the Troop 112 roster. But in exchange for their labor, the troop pays half the scout's summer-camp tuition. This year, the boys are going to Camp Meriwether near Tillamook.

"Camp is $285, so we'll pay $148," Jones said.

Over the course of the day, the troop will pick up about 2,000 trees, which they deposit at Hunter Park, where an Ashland Parks Department crew is waiting with a chipper. The chips are used year-round to cover paths in city parks.

"It's a great community service," Jones said. "Besides the obvious, picking up trees and keeping them out of landfills ... the boys get to do a feel-good service for the city, and it helps them learn about community service."

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com.