In Sonora, California, a wooden snowman on the lawn says much more than “Happy Holidays.”
The snowmen, like the wooden pumpkins that decorated homes at Halloween, are a sign of support for the Sonora Lions’ Tree Mortality Aid Program (TMAP).
Through TMAP, Lions are using the wood of beetle-killed trees to create decorative lawn ornaments that they sell to raise money. That money helps low-income and elderly with the cost of removing other beetle-killed trees on their property.
Sonora lies in the middle of the Central Sierra where state officials estimate about 66 million trees have died from the lethal combination of drought and beetle infestation. While most of these trees are on land owned by the federal government, not all are. For homeowners, taking down one dead tree can be difficult and expensive. Many people have more than one.