JERSEYVILLE - A towering Christmas tree made of crocheted “granny squares” now on display near Germania Brew Haus in Jerseyville is an impressive and festive example of community collaboration.

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Erica Heitzig, who teaches Advanced Design at Jersey Community High School, oversaw the project which she credits several people with making a success.

“My students started crocheting squares in early October. Our JCHS welding class constructed the base,” Heitzig said. “My students and I offered lessons at our local coffee shop on Sunday afternoons for those who wanted to learn.”

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The tree features granny squares from residents of Jersey, Calhoun, Greene, and Madison Counties - but it also features many squares from out-of-state contributors who heard about the tree project through social media. Some squares from Franklin, Virginia arrived in the mail earlier this month.

“Word spread like wildfire with our granny square vision and with the help of social media,” Heitzig added.

A descriptive sign posted near the tree describes it as “a collaborative effort” and lists several other states where squares were mailed from: Arizona, Minnesota, Michigan, Tennessee, and Iowa. It also cites its inspiration as “a tree made by women in Trivento, Italy.”

“What seemed like a lofty goal was actually just fun and simple,” Heitzig said. “We got it in place today and my heart is poking out of my chest.”

The granny square Christmas tree project was funded by the Jersey County Arts Council (JCAC). The organization gave kudos to everyone involved in the “remarkable community project,” including JCHS Construction & Welding teacher Allen Snyder, “crocheters near and far,” and Heitzig, who “corralled everyone and made her vision a reality.”

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