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Pay-what-you-can tree lot to benefit local nonprofits this holiday season

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The Visscher family of Bozeman is donating 150 holiday trees to benefit various Montana organizations. PHOTO BY MIKE BLANK ON UNSPLASH

HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL

BOZEMAN ― The Visscher family of Bozeman, Montana, is harvesting and donating 150 holiday trees from their land to raise money for HRDC, Gallatin Valley Land Trust, the Help Center and Montana Conservation Corps.

The Visscher Family partnered with GVLT in 2008 to conserve their 320-acre property in Kelly Canyon, ensuring it remains undeveloped and open for wildlife and agriculture forever. Each year, GVLT visits the property to ensure compliance of the conservation agreement and this year’s visit sparked an idea to blend forest management practices and community benefit.

The trees will be available at a pay-what-you-can lot on Thursday, December 3 through Saturday, Dec. 5, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. on the front lawn of Feed Cafe, located at 1530 W Main St. in Bozeman. Donations will be evenly split and donated to HRDC, GVLT, the Help Center and MCC. Montana Conservation Corps AmeriCorps crewmembers will help harvest the trees and bring them to Feed Café. The Visscher family wants to make sure that everyone who wants a tree this holiday season can have one, regardless of their ability to pay.

“We were standing on a ridge, looking down at a part of our property that we’ve always called ‘the Christmas Tree Forest,’ discussing that we needed to thin the trees for forest health,” landowner Anna Visscher said. “Someone came up with the idea for a donated Christmas tree lot. It was a perfect fit to manage our land in a responsible way and create some happiness and joy. Keep in mind; these were not grown to be Christmas trees, so they are a little ‘Charlie Brown-ish.’ This has been a hard year. If we can make just one family happy this holiday, we’ll consider it a success.”

COVID-19 precautions are in place, including a mask and social distancing requirement, as well as a limitation on the number of people in the space. Contactless payments and donations, as well as cash and checks, will be accepted.

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