NORTH CENTER — Faster than you can say "Dec. 26," Christmas trees turn from holiday highlight to trash.
Though the city has a recycling program in place to keep all those Fraser firs and scotch pines from clogging landfills, plenty of folks still kick their not-so evergreens to the alley to await the garbage truck.
Enter Kathleen Abbott, who spearheaded the Northcenter Neighborhood Association's first-ever tree collection over the weekend.
Abbot and a hardy crew of volunteers — husband Stephen Waguespack, Mark Buban, Will Hobert and George Niño, and NNA board members Susan Reed Schwartz, Karen Carter Lynch and Julie Hobert — combed North Center's alleys for trees and responded to requests from neighbors for pickup.
In the end, the group collected 178 trees, which they hauled to Park District drop-off points to be recycled into mulch.
"We did it as a service to help out people who don't have their own cars to drop them off, and for the elderly who have a hard time wrangling them into a car," NNA's Michael O'Shea explained via email.