‘Tree cookies’ add decorative touch to the holidays

Cheryl Miller decorating a tree

This holiday season you can put small-diameter pine trees to use and cultivate tomorrow’s foresters while decorating your tree.

Northern Arizona University’s Centennial Forest is selling “tree cookie” ornaments made from unwanted skinny ponderosa pine trees that have overpopulated Southwestern forests.

Proceeds from the $8 to $15 ornaments will send youth to forestry camp. Tree cookie ornaments will be available at Heritage Square during First Friday Art Walk from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 3. Those interested in purchasing the ornaments or placing customized orders also may log on to nau.edu/cfcamps or call (928) 523-6727.

Cheryl Miller, director of the Centennial Forest Junior Forester Camp, says she can carve out about 50 ornaments from a small tree and is taking orders. “These are becoming very popular for families who want to display photos of their loved ones in a unique way,” she said. “Companies can put their logos on them for a holiday gift to their employees.”

Miller says the Centennial Forest Junior Forester Academy south of Flagstaff has provided an outdoors experience and conservation training to more than 500 young people ages 9 to 16 in the last seven years. The weeklong camp costs $650 per camper, which she hopes to offset with sales from the tree ornaments.