APPLE VALLEY, Minn. — The Great Minnesota get-together has come to a close and what lines the streets at the fairgrounds are leftovers.
Luckily for the Minnesota Zoo keepers, they get to pick up the nicest smelling trash from the fair.
"It smells delicious in here, smells like Christmas time!" A zoo keeper said, as she crammed the dozens of Christmas trees into a trailer truck.
The spruce have served their time and as trite as the phrase "one man's trash is another man's treasure" is, the green refuse brings immeasurable joy to many at the zoo.
One of the recipients of the fine-smelling trees is Junior, the caribou. As soon as the zoo keepers dragged the trees into the caribou enclosure, they immediately flocked to them.
"We give items to help stimulate those natural behaviors," MN Zoo's Assistant Curator of Behavioral Husbandry Terah Grace said. "So it basically gives opportunities for animals to express those every day behaviors by interacting either by eating or foraging."
When the caribou are full, they still aren't done. They use the trees to groom off their antler's velvet.
"It kind of starts to become like a scab on your skin, kind of itchy," one of the keepers said. "So they do everything they can to rub it off so they use it to help rub the velvet off their antlers."
It's not just the caribou, it's the moose, the bear, the lynx and the monkeys.
"They use it all different ways here at the Minnesota Zoo, those pine trees are great," Grace said. "Plus, we're reusing them so it's something we can use without taking from the resources out there to benefit these animals."
After having spent the most unnatural two weeks at the fair, the trees make their way back to where it makes the most sense. Nature, where they will be appreciated for days and weeks to come.