Capitol Christmas Tree Coverage: Claire Turner's Video Interview With Governor Gregoire

Video: Claire Turner Interviews Gov. Gregoire About the Capitol Christmas Tree

Claire Turner, reporter with 4-H Network News, interviews Governor Christine Gregoire about the recent harvesting of the Capitol Christmas Tree from the Olympic Peninsula U.S. Forest. Claire helped document this special event as this is the first time that the Capitol Christmas Tree has been donated from Washington State (More Interview Photos)

Capitol Christmas Tree 2006: In Seattle

The Capitol Christmas Tree 2006 arrives in Seattle from the Bainbridge ferry. November 2006

Photos: Washington DC Tree Lighting Ceremony

A close up of the ornaments on the tree depicting natural resources, culture and diversity

Dr. Terry Bergeson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction (left), Micah Joe (Ornament Drawing Winner), and his parents, Chief Petty Officer Alvin Joe and mom Jennifer Joe, "First Mike Gregoire", in WA DC in front of the Capitol Christmas Tree.

The 65-foot tree drapped with 10,000 LED lights

The Pacific Silver Fir lit-up at the US Capitol

Photo Credit:
AnnRené Joseph, Program Supervisor, The Arts, OSPI
(Dance, Music, Theatre, Visual Arts)
Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)

The Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony takes place on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2006. The 37-year-old Silver Fir from Olympic National Forest in Washington is 65 ft. tall and is adorned with about 3,000 ornaments and special energy efficient LED lights. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

Capitol Christmas tree hauler heads for home

Now that the Capitol Christmas tree has been lit in Washington, DC, OOIDA member Gordy Grove, who hauled the hand-picked tree from his home state of Washington, is heading for home – and some much needed rest and relaxation.

Grove, a resident of Langley, WA, delivered the 65-foot Pacific silver fir tree, which was harvested from the Olympic National Forest, to Washington, DC, on Nov. 27, on a specially designed 80-foot trailer. The tree was formally lit during a special ceremony by Dennis Hastert, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, on Dec. 6, and Grove was the featured guest of National Van Lines, the company he drives for and the event’s primary sponsor.

“It was a great experience and is one I will never forget,” Grove said. “The tree looked nice and beautiful when it was lit and I was fortunate to be the one to deliver it.”

Jorja Coulter, vice president of marketing for National Van Lines, said Grove was the company’s natural pick when deciding who should haul this year’s Christmas tree to Washington, DC, especially since Grove hauled the companion trees to Capitol Hill last year.

Now that his month-long journey around the state of Washington and across the country has ended, Grove said he plans to take a little time off around the holidays and spend it with his family.

“This has been quite an experience and I have had a great time,” Grove said.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer

GOP's Hastert at war with Democrat over 'Christmas' tree

Sen. Patty Murray avoids C-word, opts for 'holiday' at national lighting ceremony

By Joe Kovacs
© 2006

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called this a "holiday tree" while House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., referred to it as a "Christmas tree" during last night's 43rd annual lighting of the "U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree"

When Democrats won control of Congress in November's election, the victory may have reignited a controversy many Americans thought had been settled a year ago – and that is what to call the national tree in front of the U.S. Capitol.

In 2005, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., instructed federal officials to refer to it as the "Capitol Christmas Tree," after having been called the "Capitol Holiday Tree" since the 1990s.

But at last night's lighting ceremony for the 65-foot Pacific Silver Fir, the Democrat senator from the tree's home state of Washington never used the word "Christmas" in her speech to the assembled crowd, opting instead for the term "holiday tree" twice.

"It is so wonderful and such an honor to be here tonight in the nation's capital as we light what we all believe from the other end of the country is the best holiday tree ever," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. (Read More)

Tonight: The Capitol Christmas Tree Tree Lighting Ceremony

Tonight at 5p.m. (EST), The Capitol Christmas Tree will be lit by Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the 2006 Tree Ornament Contest winner, Micah Joe, 8, of Tracyton Elementary, Bremerton, WA.

Watch the complete ceremony live on C-Span

WSU Helps Choose, Care For And Cover Capitol Christmas Tree

PULLMAN, Wash. -- For 35 years, the Capitol Christmas tree has been harvested from one of the 50 states and transported to Washington D.C. This year, Washington State is providing a majestic, picture-perfect, 45-year-old tree that will stand in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. during the holidays.

Washington State University scientist Gary Chastagner (Photo) played a role in its selection and care. WSU Extension's 4-H Network News crew is chronicling the 65.5-foot-tall tree's cross-country journey.

Contacted last spring, Chastagner advised the U.S. Forest Service and the Washington Department of Natural Resources on the post-harvest moisture and needle retention characteristics of the types of trees on the Olympic National Forest. He also is providing advice about the tree's care while it is on the road.

He and technician Kathy Riley attached a device on the flatbed truck that is transporting the tree to monitor the environmental conditions the tree is exposed to during its trip. They also collected foliage samples to measure the initial moisture of the tree, which will be compared to foliage samples collected once the tree arrives in the Nation's capitol.

So far, the tree is doing well, Chastagner said. The first samples to monitor moisture content, taken when the tree was harvested on Nov. 1, averaged just above 112 percent, which means that over half the weight of the tree was water. The samples that were taken two weeks later showed moisture content at 110 percent. (Read More)

SeattleTimes: 4-H bloggers nail Capitol Christmas tree story

For the full story on the 65-foot Pacific Silver Fir that made its way from the Olympic National Forest to Washington, D.C.,...(Read More)

Capitol Christmas Tree ORNAMENTS: WA School Contribution List


Abounding Grace Homeschool/ 20
Academy Northwest/ 2
Adams Elementary/ 6
Assumption St. Bridget/ 2
Auburn Mountain View Highschool/ 3
Benaiah Homeschool/ 1
Blaine Elementary School/ 28
Brinnon Elementary/ 7

See Full List
XL SpreadSheet File

Capitol Holiday Tree Cam - 1997

In 1997, Senate staff set up a web cam in a third floor office of the United States Capitol Building and started a tradition that has carried on since, the Tree Cam.

The Tree Cam took a picture of the tree every minute and uploaded it to the web.

This time lapse movie combines those images covering the decoration, test lightings, and final lighting of the 1997 Capitol Holiday Tree.

The 1997 Capitol Holiday Tree is now lit up and ready for viewing on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. And it's here, compliments of the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota.

"Each year one of our country's 156 National Forests provides the tree," explained Gary Say, a Forest Service timber management assistant on the Spearfish-Nemo Ranger District on the Black Hills National Forest. "And, because 1997 marks the centennial birthday of the Black Hills National Forest, this was a special time for the Forest Service to provide a tree from it."

The 60-foot Black Hills spruce is the third tree that South Dakota has furnished for the holiday festivities. Trees were provided in 1955 and 1970, from the Black Hills National Forest, for display on the Ellipse at the White House. "But this is the first 'people's tree' from us," Say said, "for display outdoors for visitors to the nation's capital."

Glen McNitt, FS public affairs officer for the Black Hills National Forest, said that this is the 34th tree donated cooperatively to Congress, by the Forest Service and a state or area communities, for use as the Capitol Holiday Tree.

Chuck Morris, a FS measurement specialist on the Spearfish-Nemo Ranger District, said that the tree was cut in a ceremony on Nov. 14--in the middle of a blizzard. Then it was loaded on a flatbed truck and arrived in Washington, DC on Dec. 1. He pointed out that the activities surrounding this event are funded through sponsors and donations.

The tree--with its 4,000 ornaments made by school children, senior citizens, and other residents of South Dakota--was formally lit on Dec. 10.

The 1997 Capitol Holiday Tree will be lit each evening throughout the December holiday season.

--Norene Blair


Capitol Christmas Tree 2006 In Wenatchee, WA

The Wenatchee College Choir sings "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas."

Capitol Christmas Tree In Washington D.C.

The Capitol Christmas Tree is hoisted on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Nov 27, 2006. The 65-foot Pacific Silver Fir was harvested from the Olympic National Forest in the northwest corner of Washington state. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) See More Photos

B.J. Packard Poem: Far West Tree

Photo: Volunteers - Joan Vance and Carol Reith from 4-H show off handcrafted ornaments made by Washington state school children for the 2006 Capitol Christmas Tree. Washington Ornaments Campaign

Far West Tree

Among the lower hills
Stretching almost to the sea
Lies a valley
Holding the Wynooche River

This was home
To this Pacific Silver Fir.

She was tall and elegant.
Today she is grand.
In a different way.

Throughout Washington State
She has traveled
And been admired,
Announcing her destination.

Today it is our turn.
We admire you,
Our special Pacific Silver Fir
Our Capitol Christmas tree
Lovely in all ways.

B.J. Packard

Photo: Deborah Larsen - USFS holds a handcrafted ornament.

B.J. Packard Poem: On Your Way

Photo: Kellie Hamilton - USFS. The Washington State Grange (Olympia) graciously allowed us to utilize their conference room to store, sort, and package all student ornaments for Washington D.C.

On Your Way

I came to see you.
Three people escorted me
To your growing place.

How did it begin, I wondered?
Here between the boulder and old stump
Now in shreds.

How many years did it take you
To grow those 64 feet?
They wanted 80.

Man is seldom patient.
The Christmas season happens each year
Even this one.

This country
Has called you
To be its symbol.

The strong men of the woods
Will come Nov. 1st
To pull the line
To start their never-ending dagger teeth.

You’ll leave your home ground
And 30 times you’ll be praised, sung to and admired
As you pass through this state – on your way.

School children already may be
Making the ornaments which will catch the lights
That will be set aglow December 6th

I will always remember you
Strong, tall, regal
And lovely

B.J. Packard

Photo: Diane Rubiaco - USFS. Dan Hammork (WA Grange Communications Director) coordinated the collection of over 4,000 ornaments from students throughout Washington State.

B.J. Packard Poem: Transforming

Photo: Linda Eng - Volunteer.


Song to an Olympic National Forest Tree

Transforming is part of life
We laugh, cry and carry on each day
Which will eventually or soon
Be our last day.

Expressing the most of our potential
Is the business end of living

Where once you stood
Among other of your kind
Providing us with
Oxygen and Beauty.

Today a new breath of life is manifest
As you stand tall
Our Capitol’s Christmas Tree
Lights and ornaments
Share in your Transformation

B.J Parkard

Photo: Ornaments. Students from around the state created over 3,000 beautifully handcrafted ornaments that are used to decorate the 65 Companion Trees, provided to state and national offices, or used at other related events in Washington State.

Podcast: Olympia Ceremony

November 6 - Dale Hom, U.S. Forest Service, is the host of this 58 minute ceremony. Governor Christine Gregoire and other state, federal and local officials gather at the Capitol Rotunda in Olympia to speak on the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Project in which a 65-foot Pacific Silver Fir was chosen from the Washington Olympic National forest.

Listen To Presentation (file: wma)

A production of Washington State's Public Affairs Network - providing unedited TV and Web coverage of state government deliberations and public policy events