att James knew the Havelock Junior Legion Baseball Program needed money, but he didn’t want to have a conventional fundraiser.

Matt James knew the Havelock Junior Legion Baseball Program needed money, but he didn’t want to have a conventional fundraiser.

James is coach of the Havelock High School baseball team and a big supporter of the junior legion summer league.

“I saw some websites discussing some alternative and creative ways to raise money outside of your normal pancake supper and spaghetti dinner types, where you have to kind of put up a lot of money up front and really know what you’re getting into as far as cost,” James said.

James looked far and wide on the Internet until settling on a project that could benefit both the team and the environment.

He heard about a program at Fort Macon State Park where old Christmas trees are used to build and support sand dunes along the windswept Crystal Coast.

So, he decided he would collect old Christmas trees for a donation and haul them to Fort Macon.

“This had no cost and provides a service for both the homeowners and the coastal region getting those trees down there and packing those dunes. I just thought it was a great idea,” James said.

James figured he’d try it.

“This is the first year that we have attempted to do this,” James said. “We didn’t have any expectations about this as far as people calling.”

James put out fliers and sent notices to the paper.

“People have called and scheduled appointments and mailed checks to our Junior Legion program,” James said. “The people that I’ve talked to on the phone have relayed to me that this is a great fundraising idea, not only just taking them down to the beach obviously, but some of these homeowners were doing that themselves. This just keeps them from having to do it themselves and they are more than happy to donate to us for providing that service for them.”

James dragged a trailer around James City, Carolina Pines and parts of Havelock over the last two Saturdays and managed to get 15 trees and raise $150 that will be used for equipment and field upkeep. James delivered the pile to the state park in Atlantic Beach.

“They will take those Christmas trees and bury them in the sand in the dune areas and protect them from the non-stop wind,” he said. “It holds the sand in place and allows for the different vegetation to grow and keeps the sand from just constantly eroding.”

Like sand fences, the partially buried trees slow the wind enough for sand grains to drop onto the ground and gather underneath the trees. Over time, a small dune forms.

James hopes to continue the effort next year.

“Hopefully it will spread by word of mouth next year,” he said.