Help decorate the Capitol Christmas Tree

The 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C.

RBC I What an opportunity for the young people of Colorado! Colorado kids can help provide one of the more than 5,000 handmade ornaments that will adorn this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree. Kids providing ornaments will be entered into a drawing for a trip to Washington, D.C. accompanied by their parents. Think of standing next to the Speaker of the House and “flipping the switch” to light the tree at a tree lighting ceremony.
An additional 1,000 ornaments are also needed for smaller, indoor “companion” trees that will decorate offices throughout D.C. If you are a member of a youth group, 4-H club, Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop, art council or as an individual, you are invited to participate. Ornaments should portray the many ways that Coloradans celebrate the outdoors. Children are encouraged to create their ornaments out of recycled materials.
The Capitol Christmas Tree will come from the Blanco Ranger District of the White River National Forest is nestled in the beautiful White River Valley in Meeker, Colo. Called “The People’s Tree,” it will grace the west lawn of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., during the holiday season. Since 1970 this special tree has been selected from a national forest. This is the third time that Colorado will provide the tree since 1970 and the first time for the White River National Forest.
The Capitol Christmas Tree is considered Colorado’s “Gift to the Nation” and the theme of the project is “Celebrating Our Great Outdoors.” This is an opportunity to highlight the recreational opportunities public lands provide. The White River National Forest has partnered with Choose Outdoors, a non-profit whose theme is “Connecting Americans to Public Land through Outdoor Recreation.” Choose Outdoors is responsible for the fundraising aspects of the project which is funded primarily through private donations. Many activities including art and song contests will accompany the yearlong celebration.
Before creating an ornament, please visit www.capitolchristmastree2012.com for specific criteria to ensure your ornament can hang on the tree. The ornaments must be made to withstand wet, wintry conditions, weigh 1/2 pound or less and be 9-12 inches in size in order to be viewed while on the tree. Indoor ornaments can be slightly smaller at 5-7 inches in size and somewhat more delicate than those needed for the outdoor tree. They should have holes suitable for hanging but please do not affix wire for hanging.
Mary Cunningham at the Blanco Ranger District is the ornament campaign coordinator for this effort and can be reached at 970-878-6015 or email: mlcunningham@fs.fed.us for any questions you may have prior to submitting an ornament or how your group can get involved in this effort.
In mid-November, the Tree will spend a week touring Colorado before heading across the nation to the U.S. Capitol. Each community the tree visits on its route will organize a celebration. The theme of “Celebrating Our Great Outdoors” and enjoying public lands will be brought to communities along with the tree.

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