Natalie Zimmerman, a senior at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé and member of the cheer team, tosses out a dead Christmas tree as part of a fundraiser for the team during 2019. (Natalie Zimmerman | Courtesy photo)

Natalie Zimmerman, a senior at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé and member of the cheer team, tosses out a dead Christmas tree as part of a fundraiser for the team during 2019. (Natalie Zimmerman | Courtesy photo)

Win-win: JDHS cheerleading team to recycle trees to fundraise

Money will help them travel to competitions and equip the team

As the holidays draw to a chilly close, at least one group of people hopes to benefit from the wave of suddenly but unsurprisingly surplus Christmas trees.

“This fundraiser is to help raise money,” said Natalie Zimmerman, a Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior and member of the team during a phone interview. “We’re traveling to California this year. We’re also traveling to state (championships). We’re also getting new uniforms.”

Members of the team will pick up dead trees for a small fee and drop them off at the recycling center on the next two Saturdays. Zimmerman said the team has held the fundraiser for the last several years, since 2017.

”It pays for hotels and airfare and that kind of stuff,” Zimmerman said. “Last summer we went to a UCA (Universal Cheerleading Association) camp and we had to fundraise for that.”

Zimmerman said the teams raised more than $21,000 last year for travel and team expenses, and will need to raise more this year.

“We don’t get any funds from the school, and we have to sell trees and do raffles and do our own fundraising,” Zimmerman said. “We really appreciate the support from the community.”

The school pays for coaches and officials, but not for travel or lodging at competitions or camps.

Dylan Vernon, a student at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé and member of the cheer team, collects a dead Christmas tree as part of a fundraiser for the team during 2019. (Natalie Zimmerman | Courtesy photo)

Dylan Vernon, a student at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé and member of the cheer team, collects a dead Christmas tree as part of a fundraiser for the team during 2019. (Natalie Zimmerman | Courtesy photo)

The cheer team often travels with the basketball team, which will be competing soon here in Juneau in the regional conference. If JDHS makes it to the state basketball tournament, Zimmerman said, the cheer team will stick around after their own tournament to cheer them on. The JDHS cheer team has done well, winning their division or the state competition outright for two out of the last three championships.

While the tree removal isn’t a major money-maker for the team, Zimmerman said, it does generate goodwill within the community, which helps.

Got a tree to get rid of?

To offload your Christmas tree, call or text (907)723-6580. Pickups will be on Jan. 4 and 11 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The cost is $10, payable by cash or check made out to JDHS Cheer, either in an envelope or handed over in person.

“We ask that all decorations are taken off and it’s left in the front yard or driveway,” Zimmerman said. “We usually do really well on the second weekend that we do it because people are ready to take down their Christmas decorations.”


• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.


More in Sports

A Region V tournament game featuring the Mt. Edgecumbe Braves and Sitka Wolves begins at Mt. Edgecumbe High School’s B.J. McGillis gymnasium in 2019. (Photo by Klas Stolpe)
What’s at stake for Region V basketball tournament teams and fans

JDHS, TMHS and Ketchikan face each other in 4A division starting Tuesday.

An infection of dwarf mistletoe has caused the deformation of tree branches, making what is called a witch’s broom. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Witch’s brooms and gumboots

Local creatures have often been given the names of early explorers and… Continue reading

The Thunder Mountain High School Falcons girls basketball team comes onto the floor Saturday. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
Falcons girls soar over North Pole in final home court game at Thunder Mountain High School

Team at top of conference entering playoffs for last time, as merger with JDHS set for next year.

Hydrologist Heather Best rides her fat bike in the White Mountains National Recreation Area north of Fairbanks. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Wet overflow a winter hazard in Alaska

While following a snowmachine trail recently, my dog and I came to… Continue reading

As a teenager, shooting hoops was a major stress reliever for the author. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Lund)
I went to the woods: The reward of risk

One of the easiest things for athletes, coaches, former athletes, former coaches… Continue reading

Sapsucker wells on willows attract hummingbirds as well as insects. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Willows and the ecosystem

I recently found willow catkins just emerging from their bud covers, getting… Continue reading

Thunder Mountain High School’s Thomas Baxter and Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Alwen Carrillo embrace at their end of Saturday’s game at JDHS that may have been the final local game between the two schools due to a consolidation of them tentatively approved by the school board starting next year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
In Juneau’s potentially final crosstown basketball showdown, both schools win

TMHS girls and JDHS boys prevail on night filled with dual-school spirit as consolidation looms.

Thunder Mountain High School seniors for the boys’ basketball team, their families and other supporters fill the Thunderdome for a Senior Night recognition before Friday’s game against Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. It was possibly the final home game for the Falcons team due to a pending decision to put all high school students at JDHS starting with the next school year. The Falcons girls’ team will play their final home games of the season — and possibly ever — next Friday and Saturday against North Pole High School. (Screenshot from NFHS Network)
TMHS boys prevail in possibly their final home game ever against JDHS, with merger of schools pending

Girls play final home games next weekend; both local schools play each other again tonight at JDHS.

Iditarod winner Brent Sass poses for photos with lead dogs Morello, left, and Slater after winning the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome, Alaska, March 15, 2022. A second musher has been disqualified from the world’s most famous sled dog race. The governing body of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race said in a one-sentence statement late Thursday night, Feb. 22, 2024, that it has withdrawn 2022 champion Brent Sass just days before the start of this year’s race. (Anne Raup/Anchorage Daily News via AP)
Assault claims roil Iditarod sled dog race as 2 top mushers are disqualified, then 1 reinstated

Claims of violence against women are roiling the world’s most famous sled… Continue reading

Most Read