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Monday, Nov. 17, 10:59 a.m.
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Xi Sigma Pi brings Christmas spirit to UMaine in form of trees

On Nov. 26, Xi Sigma Pi Forestry Honor Society launched its annual Christmas tree sale outside of Nutting Hall.

The sale, which began in the 1950s, provides scholarship money for forestry students at the University of Maine. The annual sale has raised $400 to $800 in recent years, but according to faculty advisor and sale organizer Louis Morin, it once brought in $3,000.

“It makes a big difference when you can’t sell trees,” he said.

The event used to sell out in a few days; now it takes a few weeks. According to Morin, people aren’t interested in local trees anymore.

From 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, 4- to 8-foot tall Christmas trees will be available. Prices range from $15 to $39.

The trees are from Blue Ribbon Trees of Dover-Foxcroft, which, according to Morin, provides a work environment for “people with problems, usually teenagers and young adults, so it’s a way for them to get back. They aren’t troubled kids; they’re just without a home or direction in life. So they help them. It gives them a job and gives them some income.”

Xi Sigma Pi officer Matthew Scaccia, a senior parks, recreation, and tourism student, thinks the sale gives Xi Sigma Pi members a good chance to work with the community.

“It is important because we are able to support a working Maine tree farm. The sale money funds scholarships for University of Maine forestry undergraduates,” he said.

Morin explained that buying local Christmas trees not only supports local business but is a sustainable business itself.

“The important thing about live Christmas trees is that young growing trees do more for carbon sequestering than older trees,” he said.

Andrew Poole, forester and president of Xi Sigma Pi, said last year’s sale sold all but one or two trees. “We used to sell more trees, as it is a long-standing tradition, and I think a bad year or two somewhere in between years has caused us to lose some customers,” he said.

Although the sale’s profits have dwindled over recent years, Scaccia thinks it is a “very worthy effort. I feel that students in the field of forestry should be rewarded if they have proven that they can become good future stewards of our forest resources,” he said.

Poole, a third-year forestry student, benefited from the sale, as he was a recipient of the scholarship.

“By spreading holiday cheer and knowing that I am giving to others the same gift that I myself received my freshman year.”