WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (WVNS) – Your old Christmas tree could be helping local scientists save endangered species.

Approximately 15 Christmas trees were donated to the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery this winter.

Fish Biologist Andrew Phipps said the trees are a big help to the ecosystem in the Hatchery’s fish and mussel propagation ponds.

Phipps told 59News, the trees serve as a habitat for baby minnows, provide algae for the fish to eat, and more.

“They provide organic material that breaks down and produces Carbon Dioxide, and it balances out the pH in the ponds a little bit. The ponds that we have tend to get high in pH during the summer,” said Phipps.

Phipps says Fish Hatchery hopes to do a Christmas tree donation drive again next year so it can add trees to some of its other ponds as well.